"Buffy, The Vampire Slayer: A Gender Discussion"
What is gender? The answer to that is not so simple. "Gender is what culture makes out of the raw material' of biological sex," (Unger and Crawford, 1995). Also, there is a difference between what is gender identity and what is a gender role; a difference which seems to be even more difficult to differentiate between than the words "gender" and "sex". Media and other parts of our culture seem to believe they know the difference, yet up until a certain period in time, the same stereotypical characters were portrayed and used as role models for others in most media. Women characters being the helpless victims, while the strong men would come to save them (including television shows such as Miami Vice or Three's Company). Today there is a whole slew of shows and movies, which are redefining and re-categorizing the stereotypical language in relation to gender. One such television series is Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (starring Sarah Michelle Gellar). And although it may seem like a typical teen-angst show, and the main character is a "whiny, rich" girl who fights demons , many people believed it would be exactly like the film (of the same name) which came out five years before the television show first aired in 1997. The film (starring Kristy Swanson) was trite and "airy", and yet the television series proved those non-believers wrong. In a stereotypical world within the culture that the show represents, Buffy is doing a man's "job". She is fighting creatures double her size, and killing them. She is aggressive, outgoing, and determined. Words which are not "normally" used to describe women (without, of course, the word "bitch" trailing right behind them). In other cultures, women being the more aggressive and "take-charge" kind of person is the "norm", but because we are living in a society, a culture, where even with the whole women's suffrage being long passed, many people would...
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