How “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” will Retain LGBTQ+ Representation in 2022

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer was groundbreaking in portraying complex female characters, as well as portraying LGBTQ+ community characters. In 1999, when the series began to explore the sexuality of Willow Rosenberg (Alison Hannigan) and the relationship with Tara McLay (Amber Benson) in season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there were few LGBTQ+ representatives in the media, especially among the main characters of the show. . At that time, the show’s writers received a lot of negative reviews from the networks for portraying lesbian relationships, but, nevertheless, continued to portray the love of Tara and Willow. However, in the 23 years that have passed since Willow and Tara’s relationship began, viewers have seen many queer characters in such genre TV shows as Umbrella Academy, Steven Universe and Fatal Patrol. The audience has grown to understand stereotypes and techniques on television and how they can harm the queer community. Does Buffy the Vampire Slayer have any of these techniques or stereotypes?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was released in 1997, and after seven seasons, Buffy ended in 2003. The creator and showrunner of Buffy focused the show on a teenage girl, Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who attended Sunnydale High School with her friends Xander (Nicholas Brendan) and Willow. while she was training with librarian Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) to fight demons and the forces of darkness. In the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the first minor character appeared-gay Larry (Larry Bagby III), and in the fourth season, the first lesbian relationship appeared when Willow and Tara became a couple. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there were many topics related to the queer experience, such as the struggle with parental recognition, finding a family that accepts you, and turning society into an outcast.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a huge step forward in presenting queer on television, Buffy’s portrayal even influenced future shows such as 9-1-1. However, there are some aspects of the show that do not meet the standards of 2022. This does not detract from the importance of representing LGBTQ+ as it was at the time when Buffy the Vampire Slayer It was aired, but with the advantage of time, viewers can learn about stereotypes or stereotypes that turned out to be harmful or disrespectful to the LGBTQ+ community, which are represented in Buffy. By examining Buffy’s past mistakes and successes in how she presented her LGBTQ+ characters, modern television can create a better future for queer representation.

Willow Rosenberg

Willow Rosenberg started Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a brilliant but shy girl. Fighting alongside Buffy and overcoming her crush on Xander, Willow learned to be confident and started dating Oz (Seth Green). Over time, Willow also became a powerful witch. During season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, episode 6 of Wild at Heart, Oz’s inner werewolf became dangerous to Willow, so he left town. Then, in the 10th episode of season 4, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow joined Vicky’s group on campus, where she met another magician, Tara McLay. There was an instant connection between them, and during the season Tara and Willow became a romantic couple. Willow’s exploration of sexuality was Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s biggest contribution to LGBTQ+ representation, as Willow was a pretty, complex, repetitive main character, and therefore her sexuality could not be ignored. In addition, Willow’s personality was determined not only by her sexuality, but was also a key part of who she was, which was unusual for mainstream media at the time.

There were discussions among the writers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer about making Willow bisexual, given her relationship with Oz before his departure and her previous crush on Xander. Whedon and the writers ultimately decided not to portray Willow as bisexual because they believed that viewers should see Willow strictly identify as a lesbian, otherwise they might not fully accept her sexuality. This idea is inherently harmful to the bisexual community, as they are often criticized for being “not gay enough” or “not straight enough”, so a truly positive portrayal of bisexuals is difficult to find on television. This plays a role in the broader bi-extinction issues that are still plaguing both the media and real-world communities in 2022. Although Willow’s sexuality didn’t take into account any discussion of bisexuality, she still gave viewers a powerful, complex, unabashedly strange character that people couldn’t help. but love.

Tara McLay

Like Willow, Tara McLay started Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a shy woman with hidden potential. She learned witchcraft from her mother and, working with Willow, became even stronger.