Saturday, 10 May 2014

The Legacy of Buffy Summers: Katniss vs. Bella.

This blog post was originally given as a talk at Ms. Biddles Presents: Buffy The Vampire Slayer in Glasgow at The Old Hairdressers in March 2014. The many pictures/gifs were part of my presentation on the night... and they were just too good to leave out.

With ten years since the final episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the legacy of this ‘strong female character’ can still be felt. Joss Whedon wrote a character who was not only strong, feisty, and beautiful, but flawed, reluctant and real. Fans saw Buffy grow up to come to terms with her role as the slayer, and she was potentially ahead of her time in modern media, where in 2014 the representation of women is still problematic.

Buffy has left behind a legacy that can be seen manifested in the female characters of more recent young adult media. With Twilight’s Bella Swan arguably as a polar opposite, and The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen carrying the torch, it is clear to see where Buffy has set the bar. By exploring Buffy’s legacy in the characters of Katniss and Bella, I hope to see how the ‘strong female character’, as a positive role model for young audiences, has progressed in the last ten years.

Looking at online fan opinions from all sides of the argument, it is clear there are positive and negative views of each character. What makes Buffy a better role model than Bella? Why is Katniss given more respect as a female character than Bella? What is it about Bella’s ‘weakness’ and Katniss’s ‘strength’ that can be related back to Buffy’s influence?