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Vampires and Postfeminism through the Youth in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

On March 10, 1997, Warner Brothers television network aired the first episode of the cult classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which merged together comedy, drama and horror elements all under the lens of an upbeat yet stubborn teen: Buffy Summers.

Many “see the program as a shrewd way to reach a new generation of youth, particularly girls, in a manner that does not patronize them. John L. Allen, Jr., writing for the National Catholic Reporter, notes presciently that TV shows about teens have tended to reflect adult fears and stereotypes of young people and teen culture rather than how teenagers actually act and feel. He points out that “’anti- teen hysteria has never been more pronounced’ than in [the late 90s and early 200s] culture and argues that young people are often portrayed in popular culture as violent and nasty” (16).

One of the striking themes of this show is that Buffy is a Chosen One– not just a random teenager who started slaying vampires, she has a calling to protect society, which at that point in fiction it was still uncommon to see females in the Chosen One protagonist trope.

If you want to learn more, read “Staking Her Claim: Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Transgressive Woman Warrior.”

Early, Frances H. “Staking Her Claim: Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Transgressive Woman Warrior.” The Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 35, no. 3, Dec. 2001, pp. 1–27, https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0022-3840.2001.3503_11.x.

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