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Xander's toxic masculinity

DeadlyDuo

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I disagree. At least in the popular usage of the term, a woman who has daddy issues is often because a father was absent or left her as happened to Buffy, and it greatly upset her as we see in season 1 Nightmares. Those with such issues fear abandonment just as Buffy does. They're also thought of as chasing older men which Angel and Spike both qualify as.
I disagree. Buffy's parents had just recently divorced so it's obvious she's going to be at least a little upset about it as her family unit dissolves. I also don't think Spike and Angel technically class as "older men" as such because, although they're vampires, they don't look "fatherly". Had Buffy tried to romantically pursue Giles then she would certainly have daddy issues.

season 7, as much as I hate to reference it, does make it clear that Spike's vampire mother rejecting him hurt him worse than anything before,
I don't think that means Spike has "mommy issues". His mother was his world (in a non-sexual way) and she was sick. He tried to make her better by turning her into a vampire and was horrified by how it changed her. When she's trying to come on to him, he rejects her and she tries to whack him one with her walking stick. As soon as he sees her vampire face, he stakes her because he can't bear to see his mother that way. He obviously found the whole experience traumatising because he repressed the memory for so long.

In my opinion, Spike's "thing" with his mother wasn't an oedipal complex but that of a child refusing to grow up. His mother still sang to him despite him being a grown adult, and even Dru wasn't keen on his suggestion of bringing his mother along on their travels. Spike wanted his mother to be with him forever and when she turned vampire, the confines of the mother/child relationship he'd enjoyed were suddenly blasted apart as his mother rejected him as her child but tried to have him as her lover. He certainly had an unhealthy attachment to his mother (which concerned even her) but we don't know the background as to why. There was no mention of Spike's father, so it's possible that either the dad left and Spike took it upon himself to care for his mother, or the dad died and made Spike promise to take care of his mother which Spike took extremely seriously (even as a vampire, Spike sticks to his side of bargains even when he has no reason to eg the deal with Ford).

If Spike had "mommy issues", then Joyce would've been much more a focus of his interest than Buffy. The fact Joyce then got sick would've also have sparked something in Spike where he would try and "save" her.

Just because Spike had a traumatic experience with his mother and Buffy's father was absent doesn't mean that they both have "mommy issues" or "daddy issues" respectively. If anyone has "daddy issues", it's Faith (at least in Season 3) and Drusilla, especially given the weird Dru/Angelus dynamic where she considers him "Daddy" yet allows him to have sex with her (though I don't think she really gets much of a say in the matter).

Riley is harder to define as he's so different in season 4 when the writers tried to make Briley happen than in season 5 when they assassinated his character to make room for Spuffy. In season 4 he's practically a white knight for women while also respecting any authority they have and not being threatened by Buffy's strength. His breaking away from the Initiative and the chemicals pumped into him (and sudden withdrawal) do create intense stress, but I wouldn't call it mommy issues, it wasn't just Maggie's death that was causing the upset, though Maggie did foster a cult-like devotion to her (and I suspect all her "boys" that include Riley were taken from broken homes, foster care, etc).
I disagree. Riley, Graham and Forrest had families they were going to visit on Thanksgiving so therefore the "orphan" trope wasn't necessary. Also Riley's Season 5 behaviour isn't as out of the blue as it first appears, especially when you take his behaviour in Goodbye Iowa and The Yoko Factor into consideration.

Yet in season 5, he does exhibit classic mommy issues behavior by not trusting Buffy and being intensely insecure and jealous, and fearing she doesn't need him, and there's just a different "flavor" to him overall. It's so contradictory to me that I'm not sure how to read it.
I wouldn't call Riley's season 5 behaviour "mommy issues", more like emotionally manipulative, bordering on emotional abuse towards Buffy.

Angel is attracted to Drusilla, Buffy, the various maidens and nuns because of their innocence and purity.
I disagree to an extent. The way Angel is attracted to Buffy is completely different to the way Angelus was attracted to Drusilla. Angelus wanted to break Drusilla completely, he wasn't just content to destroy her life and drive her insane, he turned her into a vampire so her torment would be eternal. As a human, Drusilla would've believed in heaven and hell and hoped she would go to heaven when she died, Angelus took that hope away from her completely. I also think the reason why Dru is the only one of the Whirlwind to never get her soul back is because it would be too cruel to her. She's Angelus' eternal victim and a soul would just add even more torment.

If Angelus was about destroying Drusilla, then Angel was about protecting Buffy. He saw her "purity" but it wasn't the same as Drusilla's. Buffy's "innocence" wasn't about being a virgin, it was that she wasn't yet jaded by the life of a slayer. Spike's "Every slayer has a death wish" is a simplification on what probably actually happens, Slayers have a moment where they wonder what's the point in fighting as the vampires and demons seem never ending, and in that moment of hopelessness is when they get killed. If slayers actually wanted to die to end their fight, then they probably would commit suicide since it would be faster and likely a lot less painful than at the hands of a vampire/demon. Angel wanted to support Buffy in her fight so that it wouldn't break her.

Back to Xander, I think he's the one with "daddy issues". His Restless dream in regards to Spike and Giles is very telling. Giles saying "Spike is like a son to me" is almost like a rejection of what Xander wants, rather than considering Xander like a son, Giles prefers the person Xander hates the most. If Joyce is the mother figure to the scoobies, then Giles is the father figure, and yet Giles does not acknowledge Xander in the same way he acknowledges Buffy or Willow.

The redflags for Riley being unable to stand Buffy's strength and darker/slayer side are waved from pretty much the beginning (the Initiative, Doomed, and pretty much the back half of S4), so his character wasn't assassinated as much as developped.
Agreed.
 
thrasherpix
thrasherpix
And I disagree with all your points save the one about Thanksgiving, but dissecting this back and forth with you will have to be in another thread on another day.
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WillowFromBuffy

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Buffy is never a whore or a virgin. She is a literal virgin for the "honeymoon" part of the Bangel relationship, but even here, she does not act the demure virgin. That is, she tries in Halloween, but Angel tells her he found the demure women of his time boring. If Angel has a madonna/whore complex, he shouldn't be attracted to an assertive person such as Buffy and he should start to see her as more of a wore as she gains sexual experience, which he doesn't.

Buffy is made more virginal some of the time when she is contrasted against Faith, but most of the time she is a well rounded character that does not fit on the extreme end of any spectrum.

Of course, Buffy is completely right to accuse Angel and Riley both (sic!) of "testosterone poisoning" (i.e. toxic masculinity) in The Yoko Factor.
 
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Cheese Slices

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I disagree to an extent. The way Angel is attracted to Buffy is completely different to the way Angelus was attracted to Drusilla. Angelus wanted to break Drusilla completely, he wasn't just content to destroy her life and drive her insane, he turned her into a vampire so her torment would be eternal. As a human, Drusilla would've believed in heaven and hell and hoped she would go to heaven when she died, Angelus took that hope away from her completely. I also think the reason why Dru is the only one of the Whirlwind to never get her soul back is because it would be too cruel to her. She's Angelus' eternal victim and a soul would just add even more torment.

If Angelus was about destroying Drusilla, then Angel was about protecting Buffy. He saw her "purity" but it wasn't the same as Drusilla's. Buffy's "innocence" wasn't about being a virgin, it was that she wasn't yet jaded by the life of a slayer. Spike's "Every slayer has a death wish" is a simplification on what probably actually happens, Slayers have a moment where they wonder what's the point in fighting as the vampires and demons seem never ending, and in that moment of hopelessness is when they get killed. If slayers actually wanted to die to end their fight, then they probably would commit suicide since it would be faster and likely a lot less painful than at the hands of a vampire/demon. Angel wanted to support Buffy in her fight so that it wouldn't break her.
Well, yeah. Basically he has this pattern that gets transformed from destructive when he is soulless to protective when he is ensouled. But it still stems from the same initial "obsession" (for lack of a better word) for purity : either to twist it and destroy it, or to protect it from the world.

Buffy is never a whore or a virgin. She is a literal virgin for the "honeymoon" part of the Bangel relationship, but even here, she does not act the demure virgin. That is, she tries in Halloween, but Angel tells her he found the demure women of his time boring. If Angel has a madonna/whore complex, he shouldn't be attracted to an assertive person such as Buffy and he should start to see her as more of a wore as she gains sexual experience, which he doesn't.
Of course, no one ever fits perfectly such broads and arbitrary stereotypes. It's more of a symbolic thing, if you will. However, she does display a tremendous amount of vulnerability and naïveté in S1-S2, especially when it comes to Angel. Being assertive and peppy does not preclude being emotionally and sexually innocent, which she definitely is when she dates Angel (and a little after). I mean, she thinks she's ready to sleep with Angel but literally cannot say the word sex out loud or express it explicitely. And that's just an example out of a dozen of Buffy being emotionally and sexually naive around Angel.
 

sosa lola

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On-topic: For everyone: Are there any other male characters on BtVS or AtS who exhibit 'toxic masculinity' as opposed to men who have character flaws?
I think every character, male and female, exhibited characteristics of toxic masculinity (or rooting for it when it comes to females) but to different degrees. One of the things that was pointed out in older fanfiction was Xander never crying on the show, he tears up and his voice gets choked with tears but he never breaks down. Xander suppressing his emotions because he was taught that "boys don't cry" by his father, mother and other people in his life. The only emotion he's allowed to show (one that he learns from his own family) is anger, and I love how that gets resolved in the comics. (Anya mentions Xander crying in The Body which kinda contradicts this.)

The way society looks down on nerds and geeks shaped how Warren, Johnathan and Andrew grew up to be, which is a shame because all three are geniuses. (I feel that this is a bit dated, do people still bully nerds and geeks? Are cheerleaders and jocks still the hot stuff?)

The way Angel and Spike fought for Buffy in AtS S5, being aggressive and testosterone-fueled towards each other. Even little things like Buffy and Oz associating the word "girly" with "silly and cheesy" and seeing it as a the opposite of "cool".

It's not a matter of : I like this character so he's just "a male character with flaws" and I dislike this character so he's the worst misogynist to ever walk the earth. :rolleyes:
But it's the case for almost every discussion I see. This is why a lot of people get defensive because the term "Toxic masculinity" is often misused. A lot of people use it to imply that men are inherently and innately toxic, when it's actually men who suffer the most from toxic masculinity.

I agree with @Grace that the concept of toxic masculinity should be a way to put characters' actions into context and explain them, but let's be honest, all articles arguing about Xander use toxic masculinity to hate on him and not to understand his actions. The same people who hate Xander because of it tend to idolize and worship Cordelia who displays a lot of traits and behaviors that support toxic masculinity. The last paragraph in an article about GILES is mostly about hating on Xander. Not to mention the ever tired and repetitive argument that Xander is Joss Whedon when the latter had declared that he was actually Buffy and that he was writing about himself through Buffy.
 
thrasherpix
thrasherpix
Yeah, the misuse of the word is the rub. I KNOW it's actually upbringing more damaging to males themselves than to women, but rather than talking about how the show addresses or overlooks it is instead replaced with Xander (or other male) bashing
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WillowFromBuffy

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Of course, no one ever fits perfectly such broads and arbitrary stereotypes. It's more of a symbolic thing, if you will. However, she does display a tremendous amount of vulnerability and naïveté in S1-S2, especially when it comes to Angel. Being assertive and peppy does not preclude being emotionally and sexually innocent, which she definitely is when she dates Angel (and a little after). I mean, she thinks she's ready to sleep with Angel but literally cannot say the word sex out loud or express it explicitely. And that's just an example out of a dozen of Buffy being emotionally and sexually naive around Angel
I've often made the point that Angel is a bit virginal himself. He hasn't had sex in forever and he has never been in love. The character we know as Angel is truly born in BtVS S1, so like Madonna, he is like a virgin. He is just as coy and akward as Buffy is.
 

Cheese Slices

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I've often made the point that Angel is a bit virginal himself. He hasn't had sex in forever and he has never been in love. The character we know as Angel is truly born in BtVS S1, so like Madonna, he is like a virgin. He is just as coy and akward as Buffy is.
It's only true to some extent though, because Angel might be emotionnally immature (though not really), but he is not innocent, or naive, or inexperienced. A 55 year-old guy can be immature, but he'll still get in trouble if he sleeps with a 15 year-old girl, and with good reason.
Because at the end of the day, Angel is also the guy who raped, tortured and killed merrily for 200 years. It's a part of him, and he remembers all of it. So what if he hasn't had sex in 80 years (which we're not even sure, btw : didn't he spend his time partying with famous people at some point ?): it doesn't change the fact that he has tons of sexual and disturbing experience.
And again, the show is very aware that Angel (his inner Liam and Angelus) knows how to seduce the ladies : he may lie to Buffy about "not liking the girls" back in his time, but we know better. As Drusilla says "Angel always knows the way to a girl's heart".
 

Bite-me

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I like your post @sosa lola and must say bahaha, nice try Joss, you are such a Xander. @WillowFromBuffy @Cheese Slices , both are true, it is not mutually exclusive, Angelus' and Angel are not the same they treated as different people within the show, and at the same time Angel feels like they are and that is what is emotionally important. Let this small point not get carried away.
 
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WillowFromBuffy

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And again, the show is very aware that Angel (his inner Liam and Angelus) knows how to seduce the ladies : he may lie to Buffy about "not liking the girls" back in his time, but we know better. As Drusilla says "Angel always knows the way to a girl's heart".
He does not lie. I assume he is takling about Liam preferring bawdy tavern wenches to demure lades. He does try to quite forcibly seduce that maid, but he does not necessarily like her or prefer her to a girl like Buffy.

As for the rest: If we apply external logic to the world of the show, then we cannot handwave Angel's age or his past. I choose to read Angel the way the show seems to invite me to read him. Some say that is irresponsible, but I am a romantic and a shipper first and everything else second.
 

Cheese Slices

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As for the rest: If we apply external logic to the world of the show, then we cannot handwave Angel's age or his past. I choose to read Angel the way the show seems to invite me to read him. Some say that is irresponsible, but I am a romantic and a shipper first and everything else second.
But the show actually points out this aspect of Angel's character : sure you have the sweet, socially awkward Angel , who is almost immediately turned upside down the more you find out about him. And the thing is, both readings of the character are valid and true : Angel is both new to the world and "old as grit". He's seen everything and yet he's seen nothing. It's pretty fascinating.

But it's the case for almost every discussion I see. This is why a lot of people get defensive because the term "Toxic masculinity" is often misused. A lot of people use it to imply that men are inherently and innately toxic, when it's actually men who suffer the most from toxic masculinity.

I agree with @Grace that the concept of toxic masculinity should be a way to put characters' actions into context and explain them, but let's be honest, all articles arguing about Xander use toxic masculinity to hate on him and not to understand his actions. The same people who hate Xander because of it tend to idolize and worship Cordelia who displays a lot of traits and behaviors that support toxic masculinity. The last paragraph in an article about GILES is mostly about hating on Xander. Not to mention the ever tired and repetitive argument that Xander is Joss Whedon when the latter had declared that he was actually Buffy and that he was writing about himself through Buffy.
I 100% agree with this ! And I feel you : Xander is one of my faves, and it's exhausting to see people not being able to point out a character's questionable behavior without turning it into a hate fest.
 

thetopher

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So has Angel. Angel is still a vampire and therefore a demon. Just because he has a soul doesn't change that fact. Both Angel and Spike had something done to them against their will, the soul giving gypsy curse and the chip respectively, that forces them to be "nice".
No, no no, the soul does not 'force' Angel to be nice. Jeez, it gives him the choice to 'be nice'.
Spike does not get a choice, he gets a shock-collar stuck in his head. There is no comparison (unless you're a 14 year old Dawn). Spike has been shown to want to kill when he thinks the chip is out/not working ('Out Of My Mind'/'Smashed' ) so he is just a demon with all those instincts in control.
Angel could kill and slaughter to his hearts content but he doesn't (except for the week or so he was with Darla in 1900 where he killed bad people).
So, in that fundamental way, Angel is human- possessing of humanity- not demon. Spike- until he gets a soul- is just a demon with demon instincts who can sometimes be nice to someone he is infatuated with.

And if you think that a soul doesn't wholly change their respective characters then I guess you should cheer on those like Holtz and Wood who want to dust them.

There's a difference between treating someone respectfully as a common decency and wanting them romantically pursuing your daughter.

I see that but it still shows that her respect for Spike only went so far. I don't agree at all with the Angel comparison though; the situation is in no way equivalent since Angel was with a soul. In that case Joyce was merely being protective of her daughters emotional well-being and not worried for her daughter's actual safety (as she was in 'Crush').
 

thetopher

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One of the things that was pointed out in older fanfiction was Xander never crying on the show, he tears up and his voice gets choked with tears but he never breaks down. Xander suppressing his emotions because he was taught that "boys don't cry" by his father
I would point out that just because somebody doesn't cry doesn't mean that they don't get upset or feel grief. One of the things I don't like about the toxic masculinity label is that it says its 'correct' to express your emotions in a certain way and 'bad' if you don't do that.

So therefore 'not openly crying' is always bad, even though Xander, Oz and Giles never really do this. But Angel and Spike are seen to do it on several occasions.

Now are Angel and Spike 'more correct' in how they display their emotions because- in extreme- everyone else can see them (by that I mean the audience)?
Is Oz unhealthy because he doesn't cry until he's alone in his van before leaving Willow in S4? Is Giles unhealthy because- when alone in 'Dead Man's Party'- he takes a private moment to show his real feelings away from everyone else? Is this 'bad' and unhealthy or incredibly moving?
Should Giles have just burst into tears upon seeing Buffy so he could 'break the stereotype' and therefore not be so man-like?

People show emotions in their own way and so, as long as they don't have those emotions manifest unhealthily (like rage or whatever) I think its a bad idea for people to make judgments about the 'correct' display'.
Um, basically I think I'm agreeing with you; I really don't care if Xander weeps openly, he's clearly an emotionally sensitive guy.


The way Angel and Spike fought for Buffy in AtS S5, being aggressive and testosterone-fueled towards each other.
Yeah, this is- to me- by far the most horrible moment of toxic masculinity on either show. I'd agree with this. By comparison the Angel/Riley fight is rather quaint.
 

DeadlyDuo

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No, no no, the soul does not 'force' Angel to be nice. Jeez, it gives him the choice to 'be nice'.
Spike does not get a choice, he gets a shock-collar stuck in his head. There is no comparison (unless you're a 14 year old Dawn). Spike has been shown to want to kill when he thinks the chip is out/not working ('Out Of My Mind'/'Smashed' ) so he is just a demon with all those instincts in control.
I disagree. Whereas the chip forces Spike "to be nice" or else his actions result in physical pain, the soul forces Angel "to be nice" or else his actions result in emotional pain (guilt). Without the soul, Angel is a complete arsehole towards others, so yeah the soul "gives him a choice" but it's a choice of be nice or feel guilty. Spike's chip "gives him a choice" of being nice or being in physical pain.

Angel could kill and slaughter to his hearts content but he doesn't (except for the week or so he was with Darla in 1900 where he killed bad people).
So, in that fundamental way, Angel is human- possessing of humanity- not demon. Spike- until he gets a soul- is just a demon with demon instincts who can sometimes be nice to someone he is infatuated with.
Angel can't kill or slaughter to his heart's content whilst souled because his soul would punish him for it with crushing guilt. He was only killing bad people to keep up appearances, Darla noticed and tested him by trying to get him to kill the baby and Angel couldn't do it, because the soul prevented him from doing so emotionally.

Spike also possesses some "humanity" as does Dru because the Judge says they share affection, Dalton was burned because of the humanity within him.

If you really want to quibble about it, the point of this debate isn't about whether Spike is "human" but whether he should be considered a person. My answer is that, yes he should be. Warren is human, but that doesn't mean he should be treated as more of a person than Clem.

And if you think that a soul doesn't wholly change their respective characters then I guess you should cheer on those like Holtz and Wood who want to dust them.
You're missing the point here. If I'm arguing that Spike is still a person even though he's soulless, then why the hell would I be cheering Wood on to dust him. Should Willow be cheered on for skinning and killing Warren?

I see that but it still shows that her respect for Spike only went so far. I don't agree at all with the Angel comparison though; the situation is in no way equivalent since Angel was with a soul. In that case Joyce was merely being protective of her daughters emotional well-being and not worried for her daughter's actual safety (as she was in 'Crush').
Joyce didn't want Buffy getting involved with the type of PERSON Spike was and Buffy made it clear that she wasn't interested in Spike. Joyce went behind Buffy's back to convince Angel Buffy was better off without him. because she didn't think he was good for Buffy.
 

thetopher

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I disagree. Whereas the chip forces Spike "to be nice" or else his actions result in physical pain, the soul forces Angel "to be nice" or else his actions result in emotional pain
What?
You're basically denying that choice is a major theme of the show here. People are not 'forced' by their soul to make decisions, they make moral choices because they have souls.

Spike's chip "gives him a choice" of being nice or being in physical pain.
That isn't a choice...or I guess it is in the technical sense but not in any moral sense.
A human (or person with humanity) can make moral choices, Spike only makes choices to suit him because he has no real moral awareness. there's 'what's fun/good for me/things I like' and the rest is just noise really.

Angel can't kill or slaughter to his heart's content whilst souled because his soul would punish him for it with crushing guilt. He was only killing bad people to keep up appearances, Darla noticed and tested him by trying to get him to kill the baby and Angel couldn't do it, because the soul prevented him from doing so emotionally.
And Angel made a choice. If he didn't make a choice then what exactly happened here? If his soul 'compelled' him here then why not elsewhere? Why not before?

There is a difference between being 'unable to do' something morally and the same thing physically.

Spike also possesses some "humanity" as does Dru because the Judge says they share affection,
And who better to judge levels of humanity than a demon, right?

Dalton was burned because of the humanity within him.
Because Dalton loved books. And Angelus cried at the ballet. So I guess the Judge was full of it. Or maybe he was broken. Or maybe just not the best arbiter of what makes something human.
I wouldn't consider Dalton a person either btw.

If I'm arguing that Spike is still a person even though he's soulless, then why the hell would I be cheering Wood on to dust him.
Because its a show about vampires being slayed. So Wood killing Spike would be no different from Buffy staking vampires with a quip and a stick every single episode (give or take). A souless vampire is a soulless vampire.

Or are all of those vampires people too?

Should Willow be cheered on for skinning and killing Warren?
Some in fact do, but you've inadvertently just exposed the flaw in your own argument, if you make vampires the equivalent to humans (persons) like Warren then not only does Buffy commit murder every week then she';s a massive hypocrite for standing in Willow's way.

Joyce went behind Buffy's back to convince Angel Buffy was better off without him. because she didn't think he was good for Buffy.
And then I suppose Angel was 'forced' by his soul to leave Sunnydale? By your logic that is indeed what happened.

This is off-topic. I'm gonna start another thread.
 

nightshade

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Can we try to stick to Xander and not delve into other characters, but do start other threads about their characteristics
 

DeadlyDuo

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And who better to judge levels of humanity than a demon, right?
A demon whose specific purpose is to burn humanity. He couldn't burn Angel because Angelus had none,, compassion would be a trait of humanity, love etc. Angelus felt no compassion, he didn't love someone, etc.

So Wood killing Spike would be no different from Buffy staking vampires with a quip and a stick every single episode (give or take). A souless vampire is a soulless vampire.

Or are all of those vampires people too?
Once the vampire characters started getting fleshed out, particularly Spike and Dru, the audience saw what was on the other side of the fence so to speak. It would be so easy to say "oh Spike wants to use Angel for an evil ritual and Buffy has to stop him" but there's no depth there. "Spike wants to use Angel for a ritual that would restore Dru to health" has far more depth to it than Spike just doing it for the evils. Both sides have their reasons, but they are in conflict with each other.

Several vampires are shown to have their own unique personalities and thoughts and feelings instead of being just mindless monsters for Buffy to kill. For me, it is this sentience that makes them people, rather than whether or not they have souls.

Some in fact do, but you've inadvertently just exposed the flaw in your own argument, if you make vampires the equivalent to humans (persons) like Warren then not only does Buffy commit murder every week then she';s a massive hypocrite for standing in Willow's way.
That's the problem with fleshing out vampire characters, you make them something more than a monster that Buffy just has to slay.

In my opinion, I think vampires and slayers have an unspoken understanding that they are going to kill each other. Slayers have the role of keeping the balance in the world between humanity and demons, I think the vampires respect that fact. It doesn't stop them doing what they're going to do, but it just means the slaying isn't personal on either side.

And then I suppose Angel was 'forced' by his soul to leave Sunnydale? By your logic that is indeed what happened.
This wasn't about Angel's soul but whether Joyce viewed Angel as more of a person than Spike.

Back on topic to Xander, I think the problem with him is that he's often given the role of delivering "the cold hard truth" to characters, particularly Buffy, yet he doesn't have the right to do so.
 

sosa lola

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Back on topic to Xander, I think the problem with him is that he's often given the role of delivering "the cold hard truth" to characters, particularly Buffy, yet he doesn't have the right to do so.
Why doesn't he have the right to do so?
 

DeadlyDuo

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Why doesn't he have the right to do so?
In regards to his reaction at Spike and Anya sleeping together, Xander dumped Anya at the altar, he has no right to judge her for who she sleeps with. Her and Spike had consensual sex and agreed that it was going to be a one time thing, Xander was out of line for his reaction. Yes he was upset, but he created that situation in the first place by dumping Anya on their wedding day., and his response was to throw a tantrum because she slept with someone else.

In regards to Buffy, in Dead man's party, he was effectively kicking her whilst she was down. Several times she tried to spend time with the scoobies but they kept blowing her off then decided to throw a party for her without Joyce's or Buffy's consent. They then snub her at the party then when Buffy is in tears, Xander starts in on her to the point that party guest that don't even know Buffy start leaving to give her some privacy.

The worst one though is his speech to Buffy about Riley. Riley's Season 5 behaviour is atrocious, he demonstrates "red flag" behaviour and tries to emotionally manipulate Buffy on several occasions including emotional blackmail after she catches him in the whorehouse. When Buffy rightfully calls him out on this, Xander berates her for it, basically telling her she should tolerate Riley's behaviour towards her. Just because Xander thinks Riley is the greatest, doesn't mean he has the right to have a go at Buffy over her feelings.
 

Cheese Slices

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I think the issue is mostly that Xander rarely ever see things for what they really are. As Anya tells him, up until S7, he only sees what he wants to see, and is too influenced by his personnal emotions to speak the truth.
He is right when he tells Buffy that Spike doesn't have a soul and that being with him isn't the greatest idea, but he doesn't say it for the right reasons : most of the conversation is directed at the fact that Buffy had sex with him, thus falling off Xander's pedestal and probably awakening some good ol jaleousy.

His speech to Buffy re.Riley is another example of letting his emotions get in the way of reason : he's projecting his own reservations about his relationship with Anya onto Buffy and Riley's relationship, and ends up giving his best friend a crappy advice.

Same goes for the way he reacted to Angel gate during the HS years : he made some very relevant points, but too often for the wrong reasons.
 

LilyAnne

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Why doesn't he have the right to do so?
Let's take "Into the Woods", for example. Earlier in the episode, Xander tells Anya that he's "got some stuff to take care of," and then after Buffy and Riley's confrontation he shows up out of nowhere to tell Buffy that she is "acting like a crazy person" and calls her behavior "not very slayer-like," when he has absolutely no context for the situation. When Buffy proceeds, unnecessarily, to tell him what is going on, he shames her that she didn't "see it coming," and essentially tells her that all of their problems are solely her fault. Buffy correctly tells him that the decision to rejoin the army is not hers to make, and he says, "of course it is," which is ridiculous and untrue. If Riley is so upset about his lack of purpose, and being "the mission's boyfriend," then maybe he should try taking some agency and making this decision for himself instead of guilt-tripping Buffy and giving ultimatums. Xander gaslights Buffy by telling her that Riley is a "once in a lifetime" guy which is he is emphatically not. If you love Riley so much, Xander, you go chase after him and leave Buffy alone. Why doesn't he have the right to get a say in this situation? Aside from the fact that he has almost no information, and Buffy tells him repeatedly that she doesn't want to hear what he has to say, there is the fact that this is Xander we're talking about. Xander, with his extensive history of being a pretty terrible boyfriend to both Cordelia and Anya, and is pretty much the last person on this show with any right to give Buffy relationship advice. And then there is last scene of the episode when he goes to Anya. I have heard the argument that this scene somehow makes up for his profoundly unwarranted intrusion into Buffy and Riley's relationship, but I disagree. When Buffy calls him out for treating Anya as little more than a convenience, she is right. So for him to then go to her and be all, 'I love everything you are, everything you do'... it just feels like lip service, like he is trying to convince himself more than her. He hasn't done a single thing to earn that moment, and unless he alters his behavior going forward - which he doesn't - his words are meaningless.
 
Mrs Gordo
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@DeadlyDuo @Cheese Slices @LilyAnne I agree that Xander gave bad passionate advice and bad passionate statements at times, but does that mean he doesn't have a right to voice his opinions? Even in those examples, some of what he said are "cold hard truths" whether we agree with them or not.

Also, if Xander isn't allowed to give his opinion because he doesn't have the right to do so, then we also wouldn't have "You're my hero" and "I love you" and "You're extraordinary" and "I'm sorry for everything I did to you" speeches. Sometimes he scores, sometimes he doesn't, but in the end, good or bad, he always has the right to speak his mind - just like the other characters do - but he must learn how to do so with a lot of tact.

About "Into the Wood", Xander didn't have all the facts and I don't think he was being wrong technically: if Buffy loved Riley, she should tell him to stay and they could sort out their problems. If Buffy doesn't love Riley, then let him go. I agree that Xander did want Riley to stay because he believed he was a good man and that he made Buffy happy, but in later episodes like Triangle (Xander defending Buffy against Anya who suggested that it could be Buffy's fault in regards to the end of Briley) and I Was Made to Love You (Xander witnessing the way Buffy blames herself for Riley leaving and Spike, who she sees as disgusting, having the hots for her) and we'll have "The problem is not you. Don't do this to yourself, please." and "Or maybe you could just be Buffy, he'll see your amazing heart, and he'll fall in love with you." and:

BUFFY: I don't need a guy right now. I need me. I need to get comfortable being alone with Buffy.
XANDER: Well, I'll say this, she's a pretty cool person to be alone with.

So, yeah, I'm glad that Xander does speak his mind. For every speech that puts Buffy down, there are three more that lift up her spirits. Xander isn't a one note character, and that's what's attractive about him. You literally don't know how he'll react to things.

@LilyAnne about Xander's speech to Anya: "He hasn't done a single thing to earn that moment."

What about The Replacement, when Xander was about to give up his life except for Anya? The Way he smiled at her with pride when she talked about being a good demon who serves society in Family? When Anya said that April talked in a strange way unaware that April talked like her, and Xander replied that he liked that in a woman?

XANDER: Smart chicks are soooo hot. (looking fondly at Anya)

And there are plenty of examples here and there of Xander loving and appreciating Anya. It doesn't have to be lip service. Buffy could have opened his eyes to his true feelings, in fact his speech to Buffy about Riley is Xander projecting his own feelings for Anya.
 
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