The Chosen One started slaying vampires – and with it patriarchy – 20 years ago today, when the Joss Whedon created series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (based off the 1992 film) welcomed us to the Hellmouth on March 10, 1997.
It is hard to believe that the Slayer is turing 20 (specially since they are’t meant to leave long) but the series and these characters have proven to lasting power and a growing impact on geeky girls everywhere. Whether you watched along with the series while it was airing or binged or just keep rewatching – Buffy’s loyal friends, kickass fighting skills, and humor keeps us all coming back for more.
Here at AGtM we as well as some special geek girl guest want to celebrate Buffy slaying 20 with how the character and series impacted our lives…
Tricia Ennis, 28
I came to Buffy the Vampire Slayer pretty late. I knew about it as a kid and caught a few episodes here and there but it wasn’t until college that I actually sat down and watched the series … and man did it change things for me. I learned a lot from watching this show, just as a creative person. It taught me about subverting expectations, taking risks with structure and narrative devices, and writing compelling and unexpected characters. Looking back, I can recognize the flaws, but as a 19-year-old film student learning to craft a narrative, Buffy was my masterclass.
Emily Kelley, 27
Buffy was the consummate geek girl show growing up. I remember it having a lot of firsts for me — the first time I saw a gay character represented on TV and my first major ship (Angel & Buffy forever) are the things that automatically come to mind. And as much as I loved all the witchy, fantasy, magicy elements of the show, the fact that Buffy was kick-ass AND liked make up and cute clothes and boys was so important and really made me a fan. Heroines can be feminine and care about “girly” stuff and try to be normal — Buffy proved that. Thanks to the Scooby Gang for so many great memories!
Monica Piluso, 28
I’m writing this on International Women’s Day, which is fitting because the character of Buffy was so iconic that she helped shape the way I viewed myself and how women should fight the patriarchy in whatever form it took. Whether that be a monster that preyed on the weak, slaying stereotypes that women aren’t equal to men, or fighting for the rights of everyone. I might have never gained the fighting skills that Buffy had, but watching and rewatching every episode helped me absorb her hilarious sarcastic attitude and refusal to be treated like a little girl. It’s also interesting to note that the Buffy the Vampire Slayer video games truly helped me have a fuck it attitude with what others thought about girls playing video games.
But I think every Buffy fan knows that despite being powerful on her own, her friends the Scooby gang were just as influential and made her stronger. Willow transformed from a shy girl into a magical witch and proud lesbian that wasn’t afraid to go after what and who she wanted. Xander despite being the goofy idiot proved that you might think you’re just normal but when push comes to shove, your heart can prove to be the best weapon. Cordelia was the epitome of “fuck politeness” in order to stay alive and ahead of the game. Giles proved intellect is always a badass skill to have.
Would I be the person I am today without the influence of these characters? It’s hard to say but I definitely can’t imagine looking back on my life and not growing up with this show. It made my heart pound with excitement, inspired me, had me cry a river (or 10) and opened my mind to a world of possibilities. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendon, Charisma Carpenter, Anthony Stewart Head, Joss Whedon and everyone else involved with the show, I just want to say thank you for being a part of this nerdy girl’s world.
Alexandra Gibson, 26
Blonde, pretty, stealing Xander’s heart and about to go out for cheerleading. When we first meet Buffy, she was the girl so many 1997 teens aspired to be – right down to the ice-blue nails. What she became was the hero we needed and still need. Buffy showed us emotional is not unthinking. Strong is not pushy. Vulnerable is not weak. Puns are funny. Our hero fought evils of hell, high school, and beyond with a Scooby gang in which the girls outshined the boys and included the bitchy, nerdy, weird, gay, and even the divinely-created. In the end, empowered women, working together, quite literally saved the world.
Kait Calabrò, 28
I guess you can say that I go into Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a retrospective experiment – I have binged watch the series within the past 3 months. Though I cannot say that Buffy shaped my life or the woman I am today, I would be a complete f*!king idiot not to knowledge that, without Buffy and the Scooby gang, stories that did shape me would no exist. The series was beyond its time and broke down walls delivering story lines that were progressive yet much needed for an audience.
Now, of course, I know that Buffy is nothing without her friends but I want to chat about Buffy for a second. While watching the series, even as a 28 year old, been a feminist since I escape from my mother’s womb, I have felt more empowered watching Buffy Summers, a blonde girly girl type, not be defined by her appearance. What Whedon and the series did was take the classic damsel in distress archetype and completely flip it on its head. Honestly, I think I can appreciate Buffy more now as a grown women then I would have younger. It should be required for every girl to experience Buffy once in her life!
And we leave you with the iconic “Chosen” speech for a little motivation!
So here’s the part where you make a choice: What if you could have that power…now? In every generation, one slayer is born…because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power…should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of the scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a slayer…will be a slayer.
Every girl who could have the power…will have the power…can stand up, will stand up. …every one of us.
Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?
Now that is F*!KING GIRL POWER!