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Should Buffy have been gay?

Honoria Dedlock

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The signs are definitely there. Her attraction to Angel is more one of idolatry than sexual...she only sleeps with him once, and that goes to hell (literally!).

Plus she was super freaked out by Willow being gay. I mean, how close-minded! But people who harbour feelings of desire for the same sex often react this way when they themselves are pushing down their own feelings.

Sparks definitely flew between Buffy and Faith. Faith made Buffy uncomfortable about her feelings towards women, and I think that was one of the problems between the two.

Her relationship with Riley was based on lust and nothing else, same with Spike. Buffy is definitely attracted to men and seems to also have an attachment to sex for the sake of it, like Faith.

Do you guys think she would have been happier with a woman? Why should the gay character not be the protagonist? And was Willow, who lost her marbles and flayed a misogynist, really all that good a role model for gay women?
 

Btvs fan

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The signs are definitely there. Her attraction to Angel is more one of idolatry than sexual...she only sleeps with him once, and that goes to hell (literally!).

Plus she was super freaked out by Willow being gay. I mean, how close-minded! But people who harbour feelings of desire for the same sex often react this way when they themselves are pushing down their own feelings.

Sparks definitely flew between Buffy and Faith. Faith made Buffy uncomfortable about her feelings towards women, and I think that was one of the problems between the two.

Her relationship with Riley was based on lust and nothing else, same with Spike. Buffy is definitely attracted to men and seems to also have an attachment to sex for the sake of it, like Faith.

Do you guys think she would have been happier with a woman? Why should the gay character not be the protagonist? And was Willow, who lost her marbles and flayed a misogynist, really all that good a role model for gay women?
Despite its statements to the contrary Buffy was very behind the times when it came to doing gay relationships even back then. I'm from the UK and Helen and Nikki from Bad Girls was much more open on screen than ooh look we did spells together meh.

Buffy and Faith should've been a relationship but instead all they did was subtext and look what happened with Willow/Tara. They were weren't allowed to kiss or display any affection on screen (due to the Network) so it was magic metaphor (and Whedon thinking he was clever) that then gets changed to drugs (not so clever)
You also have the American audience at the time which was pretty nasty to Amber Benson online . Joss openly said how disappointed he was in the American people when it happened.

When they did the S8 comics with Buffy sleeping with a student it was kind of creepy and the childlike drawings didnt help either. In S7 you had Xanders awful Willow gay me up line which is kind of juvenile so I'm not sure the writers even had the mentality to write one either.

Basically there were a number of factors why it didn't happen.
 

RachM

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The signs are definitely there. Her attraction to Angel is more one of idolatry than sexual...she only sleeps with him once, and that goes to hell (literally!).
This is untrue, she's shown right from the beginning to be physically attracted to Angel, describing him as "gorgeous" and showing clear signs of attraction. She obviously has a healthy sexual attraction to him too, given how keen she is to consummate their relationship in Season 2, the lusty dreams they share in Season 3 and the way they jump each other's bones in IWRY. The reason that everything "goes to hell" is because of the Curse, not because Buffy wasn't sexually attracted to Angel.

Plus she was super freaked out by Willow being gay. I mean, how close-minded! But people who harbour feelings of desire for the same sex often react this way when they themselves are pushing down their own feelings.
I'd hardly say she was "super freaked". She was a little weirded out for, like, thirty seconds and then quickly got over it and was nothing but supportive towards Willow after that.

I think it was clear that Buffy was attracted to men, but an idea of bisexual Buffy could have been interesting There is tension between her and Faith, which could have been interesting to explore (if Faith hadn't victimized Buffy so deeply) and even though I don't consider the comics canon, they did explore the idea of Buffy being sexually attracted to women.

Willow and Tara were good LGBT representation, but there was definitely room for more, and an openly bisexual protagonist would have been a plus. Kind of like Clarke in The 100. If the show were rebooted today, I imagine it could be more of a possibility.
 

Honoria Dedlock

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I'd hardly say she was "super freaked". She was a little weirded out for, like, thirty seconds and then quickly got over it and was nothing but supportive towards Willow after that.
It's clear that you are not gay. Many straight people have priveleged status that they are not aware of. Buffy was freaked out enough to worry Willow, at least for that time. And there was the thinly veiled homophobic to ',Tara' and 'people like her' whom Buffy and Xander admitted they "didn't get".

And that's not counting the tons of times Willow was pandered to, tolerated, had her lesbianism sexualised by Xander and other men...you know what? Maybe she was justified in losing her marbles in season 6 after all.

Willow and Tara were good LGBT representation, but there was definitely room for more, and an openly bisexual protagonist would have been a plus. Kind of like Clarke in The 100. If the show were rebooted today, I imagine it could be more of a possibility.
As noted by the user who posted above, they were a mediocre representation by European standards at the time, where in film and TV audiences are less prudish compared to their American counterparts. One of the drawbacks to having religious nutjobs sponsoring your TV shows! I too remember watching Bad girls and queer as folk, the latter being a UK show that was adapted to America afterwards.

As a sidenote, and very telling of American culture, that the only more difficult thing to bring to air in Buffy than the Tara/Willow kiss was the doublemeat palace. Hated by many fans, but any show that takes on the fast food industry deserves applause imo. 😁
 

WillowFromBuffy

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And there was the thinly veiled homophobic to ',Tara' and 'people like her' whom Buffy and Xander admitted they "didn't get".
Yes, I don't understand why some people fail to pick up on this. When Buffy and Xander talk about how Willow has a new thing, but she is still Willow, and that Tara's party will have a lot of weird witch women and they worry about not fitting in ... they are talking about Willow and Tara being gay. Willow has been studying witchcraft for close to three years. Jenny was a witch. That was never an issue like this. And "witch stuff" has already been established as a code for queerness.

But I don't think they should have made Buffy gay. Buffy is the every-girl. And heterosexuality is considered the norm. I also like that Buffy is a little conservative and a little naive. It gives her room to grow. I wasn't an LGBT ally in the 90s. I was just a kid and lived in a tiny village full of hicks, so I didn't know any better.
 
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Black Thorn
I don’t think so personally. Firstly, we’re dealing with a show in the 90’s and early 2000’s where Joss had to fight to have a kiss between two women on screen, I don’t think the network would have allowed it. Buffy is also supposed to represent the every girl tackling her demons, and since the majority of girls are straight, I think it makes sense. I also think that some people would be a little bewildered when a friend comes out to them, especially 20 years ago, she’s supportive of her friend but she doesn’t understand it. This gives her room to grow as a character. However if she is attracted to women, I think she probably would be happiest with another slayer as men seem to be intimidated by her strength and vampires don’t age.
 
Honoria Dedlock
Honoria Dedlock
So Fuffy, then? 😅

TriBel

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I've just asked my son (who's gay) whether Buffy should have been gay. He said "it's not something that keeps me up at night". :rolleyes:

she was super freaked out by Willow being gay.
Agree. I'm really uncomfortable with that scene. I found her "getting over it" unconvincing.

Should...I'm not sure about. Could she have been gay? Yes - probably.

Buffy is the every-girl. And heterosexuality is considered the norm.
Agree to some extent. That Buffy's "every girl" is true but can the term "every girl" include the term "lesbian"? Woman/Girls are able to say they love other women and mean it in a platonic sense. Are men allowed the same privilege? Does Buffy saying "I love Willow" have the same connotations as Xander saying "I loved Jesse"?

To put it another way: "Could a lesbian be a spokesperson for women's rights (I think she could)?"
"Could a gay man be a spokesperson for men's rights (I'm less sure about this - particularly in the 90s)?"

That said, as my son pointed out "High school" was supposedly Hell. Had Buffy been gay it might have been Hell for a different reason. There's also a "deep structure" to BtVS and any change in sexuality would impact this.

I agree that her r/s with BOTH vamps was based (for better or worse) on something more than lust.

Queer as Folk's a different audience and on a channel (4) with a particular mandate. For me, it's a false equivalence. Canal St looked pretty though! :)
 
Dominique
Dominique
I always thought it was just the major change from Willow and Oz being together and Willow liking Xander that freaked Buffy out a bit. I assumed that her uncomfortable reaction was more “how could I have not known this major thing about my bestie?”

DeadlyDuo

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It's clear that you are not gay.
And this affects the validity of @RachM 's opinion how exactly?

Buffy was freaked out enough to worry Willow, at least for that time.
Buffy was surprised by Willow's revelation and was trying to cover it. When Willow asked her why she was saying her name every sentence and that she thought Buffy was freaked out by it, Buffy sat down and reassured her and said she supported her. It wouldn't have made sense for Buffy to be all "yeah whatever" about Willow's revelation because up to that point as far as Buffy knew Willow was straight. Willow's reaction over Oz's departure didn't scream "I'm gay".

And there was the thinly veiled homophobic to ',Tara' and 'people like her' whom Buffy and Xander admitted they "didn't get".
I didn't think Buffy or Xander were being homophobic towards Tara because they didn't "get her". They don't know her very well other than she's "nice" so they're unsure what to make of her. It's a natural reaction to any newcomer in a group. Also they're concerned that they're going to be the odd ones out at Tara's party (which they're only attending because of Willow). Again, that's a natural concern because they don't really know her. For all they know, magic is going to be a major topic of conversation at the party and since magic isn't their speciality, it's not something they can really talk about.

Whilst it could be argued that it's all about Tara being gay since the Tillow relationship is disguised by the magic metaphor, at the same time it is also a conversation that could just be taken at face value. Sometimes a spade is just a spade rather than a specifically designed excavation device.

Buffy is also supposed to represent the every girl tackling her demons,
I disagree. Buffy is not "the every girl". Also whereas in the earlier seasons it seemed like ANY girl could've been the slayer and Buffy was just the unlucky one chosen; in Season 7, only those considered "special" could become a slayer.

I think she probably would be happiest with another slayer as men seem to be intimidated by her strength and vampires don’t age.
Riley felt emasculated, Spike and Angel were okay with Buffy's strength. I think Buffy does need someone more durable than a regular human, however that's not to say that all men would be turned off by her strength. Xander certainly wasn't.

As for the question of whether Buffy should be gay, I don't think she should've been. It's unnecessary. Not everything has to be "woke". Buffy was already subverting the "silly blonde girl gets killed first" trope, and in some ways Buffy being gay would've caused some unintended issues in terms of storytelling eg Buffy's relationship with the male characters such as Xander.
 
TriBel
TriBel
I think that's quite a sound argument.

Nix

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Her attraction to Angel is more one of idolatry than sexual...she only sleeps with him once, and that goes to hell (literally!).
Yer but if he hadn't changed, who says where the relationship would have gone? I'm sure it would have happened more than once.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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Agree to some extent. That Buffy's "every girl" is true but can the term "every girl" include the term "lesbian"? Woman/Girls are able to say they love other women and mean it in a platonic sense. Are men allowed the same privilege? Does Buffy saying "I love Willow" have the same connotations as Xander saying "I loved Jesse"?

To put it another way: "Could a lesbian be a spokesperson for women's rights (I think she could)?"
"Could a gay man be a spokesperson for men's rights (I'm less sure about this - particularly in the 90s)?"

That said, as my son pointed out "High school" was supposedly Hell. Had Buffy been gay it might have been Hell for a different reason. There's also a "deep structure" to BtVS and any change in sexuality would impact this.

I agree that her r/s with BOTH vamps was based (for better or worse) on something more than lust.

Queer as Folk's a different audience and on a channel (4) with a particular mandate. For me, it's a false equivalence. Canal St looked pretty though! :)
That was a lot of questions.

I think it is quite common for men that they love each other, especially among the hyper masculine bro douche no homo crowd. I am trying to be more open and sincere myself. It is a work in progress.

I think it would have been a bad idea to make Buffy a lesbian back in the 90s. We say that Joss had to win the network over to Willow and Tara, but I think we probably underestimate how many of the fans who needed to be won over. The Buffy audience was much broader back when it aired.

As for whether a gay person could be a role model for straight people ... I have no idea. It seems like youth shows with a mass appeal are as heteronormative as ever. And there are a few shows now that are marketed specifically for queer people.

If the Buffy reboot ever gets made, I doubt it will have the same wide appeal as the original had. The media landscape is just too diverse for that. The advantage is that you can target the show towards more of a niche of the market, so I think you could easily have a successful Buffy show with a gay Buffy.

I have no interest in a spokesperson for men's rights ... gay or straight.
 

TriBel

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I am trying to be more open and sincere myself. It is a work in progress.
Also twenty years too late for Buffy. :) I think it's easier now (but still not easy) than it was then.

The "spokesperson" question was something I read a few years ago that clarified a few concepts for me. That was why I posed it. Like you, I'm not particularly interested in it as an actuality.

@Dominique "I always thought it was just the major change from Willow and Oz being together and Willow liking Xander that freaked Buffy out a bit. I assumed that her uncomfortable reaction was more “how could I have not known this major thing about my bestie?”

I think that's a fair assumption. IMO, there was a lot of ambivalence written into it. My initial feeling was/is discomfort not out and out "that's homophopic". I can see it from both sides. :)
 

WillowFromBuffy

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The "spokesperson" question was something I read a few years ago that clarified a few concepts for me. That was why I posed it. Like you, I'm not particularly interested in it as an actuality.
What was it you read?


Btw, it just occurred to me that there is a (formerly?) very popular gay red piller. He is not a fictional character, though.
 
Honoria Dedlock
Honoria Dedlock
This is Milo, and red pill is too moderate a word for him. He thinks lesbians are a 'social construct' and thus not real!
A
Altoz
Oh please- some of us have just had lunch! Toxic Twink definitely isn't my idea of Mr Compatible! He's like a gay male counterpart of Camille Paglia, except without her erudition and knowledge...

Honoria Dedlock

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And this affects the validity of @RachM 's opinion how exactly?
Because it demonstrates she's never been in a similar position as Willow. Where she had to tell someone she was gay and the reaction was less than enthusiastic.

Buffy was surprised by Willow's revelation and was trying to cover it. When Willow asked her why she was saying her name every sentence and that she thought Buffy was freaked out by it, Buffy sat down and reassured her and said she supported her. It wouldn't have made sense for Buffy to be all "yeah whatever" about Willow's revelation because up to that point as far as Buffy knew Willow was straight. Willow's reaction over Oz's departure didn't scream "I'm gay".
I can understand her being shocked but there's a difference between surprise and discomfort. Buffy exhibited discomfort and showed her middle class straight whiteness with glaring obviousness, both before and after willow's coming out. She showed support too but you have to admit she seemed a bit prudish and judgemental behind the facade of affability, and the show is aware of this when they bring it up on the Yoko factor. It's good writing...having Buffy be a Mary Sue woke lgbts rights girl not only would be unrealistic, it would also have probably been unpopular with users. Buffys reaction shows to an extent that the writers understood gay people sometimes have to suffer patronising attitudes.

I didn't think Buffy or Xander were being homophobic towards Tara because they didn't "get her".
Xander's problems with misogyny and homophobia are well documented...not getting into them here.

But as I said above, Buffy's attitude to Tara was exactly the same as her attitude to Willows coming out. Initially judgemental, but slowly the icy conservative wall melts away. Because she's conservative and narrow minded but deep down she's a decent person. The same can not be said of Xander who just seems hateful for no good reason.

Buffy also seems to be uncomfortable around people of colour and makes some nasty remarks about the first slayer. Ditto Cordelia who talks to black people like they're aliens on Angel and called harmony a lesbo. As you'd expect of priveleged women of their ilk I suppose.
 

TriBel

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What was it you read?
If it comes to me I'll let you know. It MIGHT have been in relation to Stand By Me (film not novella) but I could be making that up!
Btw, it just occurred to me that there is a (formerly?) very popular gay red piller. He is not a fictional character, though.
I can think of a lot of words to describe him but this is a family friendly board.
Because she's conservative and narrow minded but deep down she's a decent person.
Yeah...that's a good summary - and the reason I prefer her from mid S5 onwards.
 

Athene

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In hindsight, Buffy's reaction to Willow coming out wasn't the best, I know that if my best friend came out to me I would know better than to outwardly and physically react like that. But this is 2020 and that was 1999 so Buffy probably didn't know better 🤷‍♀️
I think they did the best they could with nodding to the Buffy/Faith subtext in season 7 with the Mayor telling Faith that she always wanted Buffy to love her and Buffy saying that Faith sends her "weird, mixed signals". I couldn't see them being brave enough at the time to make Buffy clearly gay/bi.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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The same can not be said of Xander who just seems hateful for no good reason.
Why? Xander at the very least stresses the importance of showing up to support Willow. As for his reaction to Larry... the reason Xander is afraid to be associated with Larry is the same reason Larry is afraid to come out. It's not noble, but he isn't hateful just for the sake of it. Larry claims he could be "run out of town," which is obviously an overstatement, but it says something about the fear they feel.
 

Honoria Dedlock

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Why? Xander at the very least stresses the importance of showing up to support Willow. As for his reaction to Larry... the reason Xander is afraid to be associated with Larry is the same reason Larry is afraid to come out. It's not noble, but he isn't hateful just for the sake of it. Larry claims he could be "run out of town," which is obviously an overstatement, but it says something about the fear they feel.
Yes, but Larry successfully came out..in fact, him being out doesn't seem to affect his popularity at all...out and gay Larry is still higher in the social hierarchy than basement dwelling Xander. In a side note, I think it would have been great if Xander got killed off in season 3 and was replaced by either Larry or Tara as a scooby. I'm not his biggest fan as you can tell.

Although my comment wasn't really about Xander's homophobia specifcally...I think his misogyny is actually a far bigger problem, and his entitled attitude in general, but I won't get into it here.
 

Spanky

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Black Thorn
I always thought during the post coitus ice cream they shared, up to and including her licking it off his chest, that there was no sexual attraction between them and Buffy was carefully masking her homosexuality. Glad someone else saw the scene the same way.
 
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