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Unhealthiest Relationships, And Healthiest Relationships!

Xochiquetzal

Townie
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Messages
20
For a lot of viewers, Willow is interpreted as being bisexual, which would make her relationship with Oz perfectly valid and healthy, especially since Willow was written to clearly have romantic and sexual attraction to men for four seasons of the show and only had her Sudden Sexuality change due to Seth Green's departure.
The character herself says she's gay, not that she's bi. It's hard to misinterpret that.
 

RachM

I'm busy. I'm brooding.
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The character herself says she's gay, not that she's bi. It's hard to misinterpret that.
The character was written as a straight woman for the first three seasons of the show until the writers decided to give her Sudden Sexuality and her words belong to the writers.

If this were a real person, of course I wouldn't dispute their own labeling/identification. However, Willow is a fictional character who was initially written to be attracted to men. Bisexuality was barely a blip on television in the 90s/early 2000s, and so Willow's claims of "gay now" more came across as the writers trying to convince the audience of her Sudden Sexuality, rather than her coming out as a lesbian.

Therefore, I think that fans who interpret Willow as bisexual are just as valid as those who interpret her as a lesbian. Either way, no one is claiming that she's straight, so I don't think it's a big issue.
 

Xochiquetzal

Townie
Joined
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Messages
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The character was written as a straight woman for the first three seasons of the show until the writers decided to give her Sudden Sexuality.

If this were a real person, of course I wouldn't dispute their own labeling/identification. However, Willow is a fictional character who was initially written to be attracted to men. Bisexuality was barely a blip on television in the 90s/early 2000s, and so Willow's claims of "gay now" more came across as the writers trying to convince the audience of her Sudden Sexuality, rather than her coming out as a lesbian.

Therefore, I think that fans who interpret Willow as bisexual are just as valid as those who interpret her as a lesbian. Either way, no one is claiming that she's straight, so I don't think it's a big issue.
In the context of the show, there are no writers, we either take a statement like that at face value, understand her to be lying, or think she's confused. I take it at face value. I can understand people who want to believe she was confused because her naming her own sexuality for the first time as an adult does negate the immature, socially-pressured relationships she had as a younger more inexperienced teen, so if folks were overly invested in those teenage romances it's probably hard for them to think of the fact that they would have had no depth or longevity, no matter what else happened.
 

RachM

I'm busy. I'm brooding.
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In the context of the show, there are no writers, we either take a statement like that at face value, understand her to be lying, or think she's confused. I take it at face value. I can understand people who want to believe she was confused because her naming her own sexuality for the first time as an adult does negate the immature, socially-pressured relationships she had as a younger more inexperienced teen, so if folks were overly invested in those teenage romances it's probably hard for them to think of the fact that they would have had no depth or longevity, no matter what else happened.
I don't think she was confused nor am I overly invested in her teenage romances. I just think that the handling of her coming out was clumsily handled and left room for interpretation. Additionally, I have heard bisexual friends call themselves gay when describing their same-sex attraction, while still clearly identifying as bisexual. If you really want to go just within context of the show, Willow could simple be using the term "gay now" to refer to the fact that she is attracted to women, but it doesn't mean that she is exclusively attracted to women.

Also, her actions speak just as loud as her words, and she is clearly shown to be attracted to men. Even after she comes out in Season 4, she is still shown to be attracted to men (ogling Giles' singing in Where The Wild Things Are and recalling her crush on him, struggling to choose between Oz and Tara in New Moon Rising, swooning over and describing Dracula as "sexy" in Buffy vs Dracula).
 

katmobile

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The character herself says she's gay, not that she's bi. It's hard to misinterpret that.
Oz says hi - I can accept that she's more gay than straight but there's nothing we see about her relationship with Oz that suggests it was unsatisfying. I think Willow tends to think in binary so it's easier for her to think of herself as gay rather than bi. Rachel is right though she's still under the LBGTQ+ umbrella whatever she's is but orientation doesn't go between three points. The sex researcher Kinsey had a six point scale from 0 being completely het to 6 completely hetro I'd put Willow at a 4 or maybe even 5 but I don't think she's a 6 although Tara probably is. Oz I think too exclusively liked women too but Willow was very happy with both Oz and Willow including sexually and fancied Xander and Kennedy too so the picture is more mixed.
 

Xochiquetzal

Townie
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Oz says hi - I can accept that she's more gay than straight but there's nothing we see about her relationship with Oz that suggests it was unsatisfying. I think Willow tends to think in binary so it's easier for her to think of herself as gay rather than bi. Rachel is right though she's still under the LBGTQ+ umbrella whatever she's is but orientation doesn't go between three points. The sex researcher Kinsey had a six point scale from 0 being completely het to 6 completely hetro I'd put Willow at a 4 or maybe even 5 but I don't think she's a 6 although Tara probably is. Oz I think too exclusively liked women too but Willow was very happy with both Oz and Willow including sexually and fancied Xander and Kennedy too so the picture is more mixed.
I disagree, not that I disagree with sexuality being on a scale, but Willow is smart, competent, and in no way seems to be unsure or disseminating when she says she's gay. If she was bi, she would have said so, it's plain to me that she's uninterested in sex with men. I don't think it's a big deal that she used to date a guy when she was still a teenager and had a crush on another one, figuring out what type of person butters your biscuit is part of growing up, once she made that announcement, it was no longer debatable. As a youth she may have internalized the expectation that she'd find men attractive and want one as her partner, as she grew and had the emotional and mental space for adult self-discovery, she clearly no longer felt that way.
 

RachM

I'm busy. I'm brooding.
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I disagree, not that I disagree with sexuality being on a scale, but Willow is smart, competent, and in no way seems to be unsure or disseminating when she says she's gay. If she was bi, she would have said so, it's plain to me that she's uninterested in sex with men. I don't think it's a big deal that she used to date a guy when she was still a teenager and had a crush on another one, figuring out what type of person butters your biscuit is part of growing up, once she made that announcement, it was no longer debatable. As a youth she may have internalized the expectation that she'd find men attractive and want one as her partner, as she grew and had the emotional and mental space for adult self-discovery, she clearly no longer felt that way.
You seem to keep ignoring the fact that Willow isn't real and therefore however smart or competent she is written to be, her sexuality and the writing surrounding it is open to interpretation especially considering the time in which her character came out. As said before, bisexuality in television was pretty much non-existent in the later 90s/early 2000s and therefore Willow claiming she is "gay now" was more a byproduct of the times and not necessarily a true reflection of her actual sexuality. Joss had to fight tooth and nail just to allow Willow to have a same-sex relationship, I can't even imagine the wall he would have hit had he pushed for her to be openly bisexual.
 

katmobile

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You seem to keep ignoring the fact that Willow isn't real and therefore however smart or competent she is written to be, her sexuality and the writing surrounding it is open to interpretation especially considering the time in which her character came out. As said before, bisexuality in television was pretty much non-existent in the later 90s/early 2000s and therefore Willow claiming she is "gay now" was more a byproduct of the times and not necessarily a true reflection of her actual sexuality. Joss had to fight tooth and nail just to allow Willow to have a same-sex relationship, I can't even imagine the wall he would have hit had he pushed for her to be openly bisexual.
I think as well you can make an arguement for Willow internalising bi erasure and preduice. Willow is smart but we saw the season before it doesn't mean she knows and accepts everything about herself or that she doesn't have massive insecurities. Willow has a tendancy to come badly with the insecurity of the world so it's easier to tell herself she's gay now than to admit she's bisexual. I think it's relatively harmless but it makes sense to me from we see of her as a character which she had an emotionally and sexually deeply satisfying relationships with both a man and a woman and losing them both devasted her.
 

nightshade

Your grandfather is a cat
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Black Thorn
Healthiest:
The Burkles
If Firefly is allowed Zoe/Wash

Not really many relationships that were completely healthy, many I view as mostly healthy but by the end on or sometimes both of the people in it change.
 

Xochiquetzal

Townie
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Messages
20
You seem to keep ignoring the fact that Willow isn't real and therefore however smart or competent she is written to be, her sexuality and the writing surrounding it is open to interpretation especially considering the time in which her character came out. As said before, bisexuality in television was pretty much non-existent in the later 90s/early 2000s and therefore Willow claiming she is "gay now" was more a byproduct of the times and not necessarily a true reflection of her actual sexuality. Joss had to fight tooth and nail just to allow Willow to have a same-sex relationship, I can't even imagine the wall he would have hit had he pushed for her to be openly bisexual.
In the context of the show, WIllow is very real and the writers are not. The writers' intentions don't change who the character is unless it ends up on screen. Hemingway's paranoid obsession with impotence doesn't make Jake Barnes less impotent in The Sun Also Rises, that's what Hemingway intended, wrote, and was allowed to publish by an editor and censors. In BtVS it doesn't matter when the writers wanted Willow to be gay or that you theorize that they might have felt unable to write her as bisexual due to network censorship.

In real life, when someone comes out as homosexual and continues to have homosexual relationships, it's safe to assume they are indeed what they say they are instead of forever insisting you refuse to believe them because you know about their past relationships. I know many lesbians that have had sex with men for a variety of reasons, one who was even married to a man and has children with him.

"Late in life lesbian" is a common term, "you had a boyfriend in high school so you're really bisexual no matter what you chose to define yourself as," is probably a common phrase, too, but it'd be considered really rude for you to assume you know more about someone's sexual preferences than they do if they explicitly tell you who they're interested in. It's also a common experience for people to realize and accept being gay only when they leave high school because it's the first time they've had an adult's freedom to explore and express their sexuality.
 

WillowFromBuffy

To be or not to evil.
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In the context of the show, WIllow is very real and the writers are not.
I agree with @RachM . It is true that we should be careful to make presumptions about authorial intentions. However, we must never forget that a TV show is a creation. It is not reality.

It is also important to remember that a TV show is something that is seen by an audience. We can see Willow speak and act on the screen, but Willow does not have an inner life, nor does she exist the moment she exits the frame. As an audience, we try to make sense of the fragmented impressions we get of the character and construct an idea of a person in our head.

If we take everything Willow says at 100 % face value, then certain contradictions emerge. How do we reconcile her deceleration that she is "Gay now!" with her telling Oz that she still loves him and can imagine herself being with her in the future or that she very enthusiastically calls both Giles and Dracula sexy? If we are going to make sense of this, then we have to allow for some interpretation.

Also, when Willow says "Gay now!" it doesn't outright say that she wasn't gay before, but it strongly implies that. So if we take this at face value, then her sexuality has shifted, meaning that she didn't discover that she was gay, but she became gay. This can certainly happen several times in a person's life, though it isn't quite as simple as flicking a switch. A person isn't going to be gay now, straight yesterday.

And once you've opened up for interpretation, you can create all sorts of plausible theories. For example, in "Tough Love"; Tara admits that she has been fearing that Willow may be going through a phase, which Willow denies. It is possible that Willow has become more conscious about declaring herself to be "Gay now!", rather than bi, pan or fluid, because of Tara's reaction to Willow's voiced attraction to Giles and Dracula, and because Tara seemed to believe that Willow would leave her when Oz comes back in "New Moon"

I get the sense that Willow and Tara don't really have any gay friends and that neither of them know all that much about the LGBT movement. Riley should really have introduced them to the Lesbian Alliance, because I see no indication that Willow and Tara have any contact with them. Willow seems a lot more concerned with the struggles of witches and Wiccans than with those of gay people, though the former is used by the show as a metaphor for the latter, but that happens less often and less overtly after Willow starts talking about the history and representation of witches. Willow also calls herself a "junior partner" when it comes to being gay. It is therefore possible that Willow lacks the language and the role models to really talk about her sexuality.

Too long, didn't read: It is important to remember that shows and books are there for us, not the other way around. We should allow ourselves whatever reading of a show that seems most natural or most helpful to ourselves.

P.S. I don't think anyone will argue that Jake is not impotent. However, I am sure there are many different readings on what Jake's impotence and Brett's androgyny signify.
 

Btvs fan

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I don't know if this is true but I did read that was some speculation on whether to make Xander the gay character originally but Seth Green leaving made them go with Willow instead
 

Priceless

Scooby
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I don't know if this is true but I did read that was some speculation on whether to make Xander the gay character originally but Seth Green leaving made them go with Willow instead
I'd heard that too. But Jane Espenson on the Slayerfest98 podcast said she'd never heard that and that it was always going to be Willow. Now she might not have been involved when Joss was discussing it early on, but I tend to think it was only mentioned in passing and the decision to make it Willow was pretty quick. Magic = lesbianism just seems too perfect a metaphor to pass up.
 

WillowFromBuffy

To be or not to evil.
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James has said that their was talks about shipping Spike with Xander when they called him back for S4 and made him main cast. I don't believe that, though. Joss was smart enough that he knew he had to be very careful with how he presented Tara to the network, so he should have been able to foresee that a romance between Spike and Xander would never have been allowed to air.
 

RachM

I'm busy. I'm brooding.
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It'd be considered really rude for you to assume you know more about someone's sexual preferences than they do if they explicitly tell you who they're interested in.
Yes, it would be really rude of me to assume someone's sexual preference if they told me otherwise in real life. Which is why I would never do that. But Willow isn't real and no amount of saying "within the context of the show" changes that.

Willow was written by a team of writers and her sexuality is a result of that writing. Therefore it is open to interpretation and warrants discussion about intent.
 

Btvs fan

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James has said that their was talks about shipping Spike with Xander when they called him back for S4 and made him main cast. I don't believe that, though. Joss was smart enough that he knew he had to be very careful with how he presented Tara to the network, so he should have been able to foresee that a romance between Spike and Xander would never have been allowed to air.
It wasn't just the Network. Some fans at the time were nasty particularly to Amber Benson, I remember Joss who normally doesn't say much openly say (see Spike and Spuffy) how disappointed he was in the American people. Though given how he killed Tara off, he kind of went the route those fans wanted him too
 

Xochiquetzal

Townie
Joined
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Messages
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Yes, it would be really rude of me to assume someone's sexual preference if they told me otherwise in real life. Which is why I would never do that. But Willow isn't real and no amount of saying "within the context of the show" changes that.

Willow was written by a team of writers and her sexuality is a result of that writing. Therefore it is open to interpretation and warrants discussion about intent.
Everything is open to interpretation, even real life events, people can still be honest or dishonest in their interpretations. At some point seeing things there is no evidence for and, in fact, evidence to point to the contrary, is called fantasy, not interpretation.

I agree with @RachM . It is true that we should be careful to make presumptions about authorial intentions. However, we must never forget that a TV show is a creation. It is not reality.

It is also important to remember that a TV show is something that is seen by an audience. We can see Willow speak and act on the screen, but Willow does not have an inner life, nor does she exist the moment she exits the frame. As an audience, we try to make sense of the fragmented impressions we get of the character and construct an idea of a person in our head.

If we take everything Willow says at 100 % face value, then certain contradictions emerge. How do we reconcile her deceleration that she is "Gay now!" with her telling Oz that she still loves him and can imagine herself being with her in the future or that she very enthusiastically calls both Giles and Dracula sexy? If we are going to make sense of this, then we have to allow for some interpretation.

Also, when Willow says "Gay now!" it doesn't outright say that she wasn't gay before, but it strongly implies that. So if we take this at face value, then her sexuality has shifted, meaning that she didn't discover that she was gay, but she became gay. This can certainly happen several times in a person's life, though it isn't quite as simple as flicking a switch. A person isn't going to be gay now, straight yesterday.

And once you've opened up for interpretation, you can create all sorts of plausible theories. For example, in "Tough Love"; Tara admits that she has been fearing that Willow may be going through a phase, which Willow denies. It is possible that Willow has become more conscious about declaring herself to be "Gay now!", rather than bi, pan or fluid, because of Tara's reaction to Willow's voiced attraction to Giles and Dracula, and because Tara seemed to believe that Willow would leave her when Oz comes back in "New Moon"

I get the sense that Willow and Tara don't really have any gay friends and that neither of them know all that much about the LGBT movement. Riley should really have introduced them to the Lesbian Alliance, because I see no indication that Willow and Tara have any contact with them. Willow seems a lot more concerned with the struggles of witches and Wiccans than with those of gay people, though the former is used by the show as a metaphor for the latter, but that happens less often and less overtly after Willow starts talking about the history and representation of witches. Willow also calls herself a "junior partner" when it comes to being gay. It is therefore possible that Willow lacks the language and the role models to really talk about her sexuality.

Too long, didn't read: It is important to remember that shows and books are there for us, not the other way around. We should allow ourselves whatever reading of a show that seems most natural or most helpful to ourselves.

P.S. I don't think anyone will argue that Jake is not impotent. However, I am sure there are many different readings on what Jake's impotence and Brett's androgyny signify.
I'm aware that shows and books are there for us, that's why I'm talking about interpreting the character from what is presented on the show, rather than attempting to interpret the character from behind the scenes information. Knowing one fact about the timing of the character coming out can give us insight into why they were written the way they were, it gives us no insight into the character's sexuality, that can only be picked up from the character's actions and words. At a certain point Willow said she was gay and then only entered gay relationships. The show was written, preformed, and edited to depict her as either telling the truth, lying, or confused. Those are the only options when a character makes a statement of fact. I don't see anything on screen that indicates Willow being uncertain about her sexuality, or attempting to be deceptive about it. There was nothing to indicate that her love for Oz, attraction to Giles preforming, or susceptibility to Dracula's thrall ever made her question whether she was really who she claimed to be, or not. We are both told and shown bluntly and up front that she's gay, we're never shown that feelings for her high school boyfriend, or her sense that two attractive men are attractive do anything to make her doubt that or cause her to act straight or bisexual once she's realized she's not.
 

Nix

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Sineya
Unhealthy....
Buffy Spike (friendship was better as lovers it was destructive imo)
Angel Darla (nope nope nope)

Healthy as far as BTVS can go!...
Wood Faith (lots of positive promise for both)
Tara Willow (the love was real although full of turmoil)
Xander Anya (Before he was pushed to leave it was really nice)

Please don't batter me it's just an opinion!
 

katmobile

Scooby
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I'm aware that shows and books are there for us, that's why I'm talking about interpreting the character from what is presented on the show, rather than attempting to interpret the character from behind the scenes information. Knowing one fact about the timing of the character coming out can give us insight into why they were written the way they were, it gives us no insight into the character's sexuality, that can only be picked up from the character's actions and words. At a certain point Willow said she was gay and then only entered gay relationships. The show was written, preformed, and edited to depict her as either telling the truth, lying, or confused. Those are the only options when a character makes a statement of fact. I don't see anything on screen that indicates Willow being uncertain about her sexuality, or attempting to be deceptive about it. There was nothing to indicate that her love for Oz, attraction to Giles preforming, or susceptibility to Dracula's thrall ever made her question whether she was really who she claimed to be, or not. We are both told and shown bluntly and up front that she's gay, we're never shown that feelings for her high school boyfriend, or her sense that two attractive men are attractive do anything to make her doubt that or cause her to act straight or bisexual once she's realized she's not.
But likewise we aren't shown anything that calls into question that he attraction and relationship with Oz was lacking whilst there some that Willow has attraction to some men. It makes more sense to me from what I'm watching that Willow is a bisexual with a preference for women than that she's gay who went with men because of societal pressure. I think you're projecting and I'm sure that happens to some people but sexual orientation is an arc with a lot variation in it. Sometimes people who think they're het find someone of their own gender who they click with and/or who does it for them and sometimes the opposite happens. Love and sex are complicated things sometimes more than we realise ourselves.
 

Priceless

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It wasn't just the Network. Some fans at the time were nasty particularly to Amber Benson, I remember Joss who normally doesn't say much openly say (see Spike and Spuffy) how disappointed he was in the American people. Though given how he killed Tara off, he kind of went the route those fans wanted him too
Tara was in the show for 3 years, I doubt the homophobic 'fans' thought Joss was doing them a favour when he killed her off. God, can you imagine how those sort of fans must have loved Kennedy 🤣
 
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