Buffy Summers, it’s in the name; feisty, vivacious and a breath of fresh air. Forever the star of my younger self’s screen, she is by far the most relatable and well-rounded female lead and feminist role model to have graced television. Shocking when you consider that the show ended in 2003.
Buffy burst onto screens during the spring of 1997 and turned Sunnydale’s underworld creatures upside down. Breaking the patriarchal structure, she shattered the glass ceiling, along with many windows as she went. Before Buffy, had we ever seen the teenage female body as tough, resilient and confident yet vulnerable, emotional and endearing? Too often it seems women in the media can only be one or the other: weak and loveable or cold, hard bitches.
She may stay in the nineties but, for me, Buffy Summers and her Scooby Gang have done more for women than any female character before or since. She paved the way for the Katniss Everdeen characters. We all have a spectrum of qualities; strength and beauty are not mutually exclusive - and we can be tough and get life wrong simultaneously too.
When I was nine, Buffy was my idol. I wanted to fight evil, make loyal friends, get good grades and then relax at The Bronze. What do young girls have now? Gyrating Miley or ditzy, helpless Jess from New Girl? Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll take the subversion of stereotypes with a side of major butt-kicking any day. Superhuman strength aside, Buffy can’t be confined; she is you, me, your sister and Madonna all at the same time.
Words: Charlotte Sutherland-Hawes