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Wesley and Cordelia (BtVS s3)

Mrs Gordo

(She's not even a vampire.) No, I'm an attorney.
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Black Thorn
#1
The podcast Buffering has been discussing how disturbed they are about the Wesley and Cordelia pairing on the show. Essentially, the issue they take is that Wesley is not just older but is seen as "in a position of power" and therefore it's not just their age that is the problem but it is akin to Cordelia dating someone who has some measure of authority over her.

I have to say - I never saw it this way. Especially because Wesley couldn't be less in control nor do I see him in any type of real "position of power." He may be trying to take the position of power over Buffy, but he isn't a staff member at that school, he isn't Cordelia's watcher, and even as Buffy's watcher it's pretty evident he is rather impotent. Wesley always struck me is the new Watcher's Council graduate and this was his first gig. He is obviously green not just in the role he has been given but emotionally stunted. Between the two, Cordelia is clearly in the position of power as she has and usually is always in control of what she wants. Plus she is 18 years old and a consenting adult who is about to graduate high school.

What did you all think? Were you ever weirded out by this pairing for reasons of age or "position of power" issues? Did you find it similar to that of a student/teacher relationship?
 
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#2
I never really thought about it like that because Wesley wasn't a teacher or any kind of position of power in Sunnydale High. He was there because of Faith and the Watchers Council all of which had nothing to do with Cordelia anyway. There age difference was made light of and Wesley's immaturity balanced out with Cordelia's maturity anyway but it's amazing what there friendship became later on in Angel! It's crazy to see how into each other they were on Buffy and how immediately from the beginning on Angel, they were nothing but platonic.
 
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#4
I never really thought about it like that because Wesley wasn't a teacher or any kind of position of power in Sunnydale High. He was there because of Faith and the Watchers Council all of which had nothing to do with Cordelia anyway. There age difference was made light of and Wesley's immaturity balanced out with Cordelia's maturity anyway but it's amazing what there friendship became later on in Angel! It's crazy to see how into each other they were on Buffy and how immediately from the beginning on Angel, they were nothing but platonic.
*Their
 

GraceK

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#6
I heard that same podcast and they were seriously reaching. Cordelia is not only 18, the actress was in her thirties. It was also played for laughs, and Wesley is in no way an authority figure for Cordelia. I wonder if they would feel as disturbed about Evil Cordy sleeping with Connor? Probably not, because of women “empowerment “.
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These are the same people who felt the Mayor was sexually creepy with Faith so I don’t take their opinions seriously
 
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#7
I heard that same podcast and they were seriously reaching. Cordelia is not only 18, the actress was in her thirties. It was also played for laughs, and Wesley is in no way an authority figure for Cordelia. I wonder if they would feel as disturbed about Evil Cordy sleeping with Connor? Probably not, because of women “empowerment “.
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These are the same people who felt the Mayor was sexually creepy with Faith so I don’t take their opinions seriously

I dont think Wes and Cordy was a big deal.
I did, however, think Cordelia and Connor was horrifying...
 
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#8
I think anyone who doesn't think Wesley & Cordelia was creepy or wrong yet call Bangel pedophilia are huge hypocrites.

Wesley seemed like he was around the same age Liam was when he was sired. Late 20s.

Wesley was a university graduate and sexually active (we don't know when he lost his virginity but it was before Angel sniffed a bottle blonde on him, Virginia, & Lilah) while Cordelia was in high school and probably a virgin since she never slept with Xander.

I don't have a problem with the ship but it says a lot that most don't have issue with teenage Cordelia with Wesley (late 20s) or Doyle (late 20s) but can write lengthy essays on why Buffy, who fights demons mostly alone on a nightly basis, is being taken advantage of by Angel and how it sends a bad message.
 

thetopher

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Sineya
#9
There's no power dynamic between Wesley and Cordelia, not only because he has no authority over her but because of their respective personalities.
Wesley is smitten and doesn't know what to do about it at all, he's a bit of a mess. Cordelia is by far the more confident one, if very unsubtle about it.

The age difference- if that's what they're also talking about- never bothered me either; its about the same age difference as the one between Faith and Robin Wood who clearly go further than one kiss; Wesley's obviously some sort of young golden boy of the Watcher's council, in his late twenties or something.
 

Fool for Buffy

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Sineya
#10
Agree with most here, she's eighteen and he has no authority over her. They can do what they want. I don't know that I would recommend a high school girl to go after someone like Wesley, but I definitely cannot condemn him or her.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#11
I am about Wesley's age, I guess, and I have the maturity of the blueberry scone (The Church of Scientology can confirm this), yet I don't use this as an excuse to engage in romantic and sexual relations with 18 year old high school students. There are plenty of emotionally stunted, immature women my own age with the same amount of bagge. No reason to ruin the next generation.
 
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#12
I saw it as something of a gray area. Wes isn't actually on the school faculty as far as I can tell so he has no actual power over her, and Giles (who is part of the faculty) obvious disrespect for him lessens any aura of authority he might be perceived to have. Cordelia is portrayed as someone with a strong will who isn't scared of defying adults (and even tries to glibly get a cop to get her out of a speeding ticket, though her standing up to Gorch is where she really shows she's not intimidated by adults) so Wes would lack psychological power as well. Not all kids are impressed or intimidated by the mystique of adults (though more are than aren't, even the rebellious kids).

Emotionally, I didn't feel that much about it. I know that when he actually danced with her at the prom I was thinking that wouldn't have been allowed at the high school I went to...but then Buffy and Cordelia would've been sent home more than once for what they wore at any school I went to as well (or otherwise policed, caps and hats weren't allowed to be worn in any school I went to, for example, so even Willow would would get policed).

I support the laws that prevent any sort of romantic or sexual entanglements involving a superior (this includes college instructors and students, btw) because of how it can be abused (the student can also exploit the relationship for one's self or against others), but that doesn't mean I think such relationships that happen (like with Wes and Cordy) are automatically predatory or unethical. Laws and rules are to protect those who need it, though it will likely frustrate those that don't actually need the protection and who don't actually mean to harm, but until we have (trustworthy) telepathic monitors and enforcers who can make accurate case by case assessments then the laws have to apply to everyone because about anyone can fake strong character and honorable intent (and even if they try to be honorable and ethical about it they may lack the strength of character to do so) And if the protection didn't exist then Cordelia would've likely been targeted by other faculty members who actually were exploitative or predatory. (And she was technically by that college cult, even if Cordelia first saw herself as the hunter/exploiter rather than the hunted/exploited.)
 

DeepBlueJoy

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#14
I always assumed Wes had never kissed anyone before Cordy. He was definitely a sexually naive person before going a bit wild in LA.Cordy was disgusted by the kiss. This suggested she'd had better. Even with the redhead on Angel (Virginia?), he seemed kind of green. By Lilah, he wasn't.
 
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#16
It was kinda gross but not inherently wrong. Even if someone is 18, if they are a high school student they should not date a 30-some man. They are in a complete different phase. If she was a college student at the time, it would have been different.
 

DeepBlueJoy

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#17
It was kinda gross but not inherently wrong. Even if someone is 18, if they are a high school student they should not date a 30-some man. They are in a complete different phase. If she was a college student at the time, it would have been different.
I would tend to agree. Of course, if my scenario is the right one then I am not sure that Cordelia doesn't have significantly more 'adult' experience than he does. (and exhibit A. is one very Drooly kiss)

Also, and I don't want to creep you out about this... but ASH was 28 when he met his 18 year old future wife. They got together while she was still in her teens. They've raised two kids. Age differences are less common in the western world than they used to be. Particularly with higher status families, young pretty things often married daddy's business partner. And that's not to justify it, because for a lot of them it probably sucked.

The basic point is that all kinds of relationships happen. People get together for a lot of reasons. At all kinds of ages. Look at Alexis (52) and Allyson (43). She wasn't that much older than her character when they actually got together.

Also, it occurs to me that Wes was not as old as all that... after all, he was a fresh graduate from the Watcher's Academy... which, if that's 3 years of university, would make him 23 at most. The actors have bigger age gaps (though the one between him and Charisma is only four years. Her DOB is 1970, his is 1966) If they're playing it as her being 18, that makes him 22.
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I wouldn't have an issue with Wesley dating Willow or Cordelia, but Wes dating Faith? That would be wrong. Teachers shouldn't date students, mentors shouldn't date those who they are mentoring. And watchers don't just teach, they fundamentally control and direct the lives of their 'charges'. Someone like Faith, with no resources, no family, no anything, would be in a position of complete powerlessness where her watcher was concerned. I think her rebellion is actually a good thing, all things considered, considering what the watchers seemed to want. Pity, she didn't get support and family from the others before it went as far as it did, though I am not sure it wouldn't have been too little, too late.
 
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