I realize I’m not the first to point out the striking contrast between the heroines from the pop-culture vamp stories of my day and those of generation Twilight. However, redundant or not…..I want to discuss this! Buffy, a true hero, upholds the values of loyalty, selflessness, independence, bravery and all-round kick-assedness. While Bella is quite simply an embarrassment to protagonists everywhere. When she’s not bitching and complaining about life, she’s literally obsessing over a pasty-white, fruit-punch-mouth who demeans, insults and threatens her. If these books had to be written, then she should have either been killed off at the beginning and replaced with a worthy heroine or spent the second book in intensive therapy figuring out why she hates herself so much.
Let’s talk Love Stories……….
Forbidden monster-love is only sexy if you do it right. Angel attempted to court Buffy and added value to her life by helping her do her vampire-slaying and Scooby Gang detective work. All of that on top of the angsty self-loathing for being a monster really made me feel he was worthy of human-vamp relations with the Slayer. That boat was totally missed with Edward. In their first close encounter, Bella’s body-odour transported him into a homicidal frenzy, begging the question: where’s the romance? Gold-flecked eyes, a hot bod, a resentment-laced rescue, and few death threats just aren’t enough to set-up that true-love potential for me.
Yes, Angel did turn into a homicidal maniac after he and Buffy slept together-but it was only because he broke the gypsy-curse that granted him a soul. And, the only thing that could break it was ‘a moment of true happiness’. How sadistically sweet! Buffy then has to come to terms with a man changing-for the much much worse-after she sleeps with him (not an uncommon experience I’m guessing). She resolves to kill him once he becomes a real threat (allowing viewers to live vicariously-we’ve never had a really good excuse to kill someone after disappointing sex). Yet we feel sympathetic at the same time-we’ve probably also never been forced to kill a true love for the greater good. What amazing tension and story telling! But alas, after much blood, gore and murder, the cure is found just in time to restore Angel’s soul and bring him back. Still, there is no way for them to be together and risk another moment-of-true-happiness. So they separate to live as heros in different cities and continue to protect everyone else from evil. Tear. Sniff. Tear. Sniff.
What was most appealing about Buffy was that she had her own goals, achievements, and reason-for-being. Her love story, though powerful, was an aside to everything else happening in her life. She saved the world hundreds of times, guarded and protected the people she loved and the people she didn’t, and even died twice; sacrificing herself for all of mankind. While doing all of this, she still went through all the hells of being a teenager that fans could relate to. Bella’s entire story revolves around an unhealthy obsession and a complete lack of personal identity. There is nothing appealing or heroic about her character (how do you identify with her or admire her??). Edward is a belittling, sinister douchebag. Yes, every girl falls for an asshole at some point in her life, but that’s just not a love story!