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Throwing Like a Slayer: A Phenomenology of Gender Hybridity and Female Resilience in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

To determine whether or not Buffy Sommers represents a successful subversion of femininity, I draw extensively upon seminal works in feminist phenomenology, which describe feminine embodiment as a collection of disciplinary practices that produce a subordinate subject. In sections one and two below, I use these aspects of feminine embodiment to analyze how Buffy the Vampire Slayer both reflects and challenges these norms, concluding that Buffy represents a gender hybrid, one who melds feminine and masculine being-in-the-world. Then, in section three, I examine what this depiction of gender hybridity offers for ordinary young women, that is, those without the mystically endowed powers of the Slayer, through a deconstruction of the episode “Helpless” (3.12). I argue that, instead of presenting a “docile body” inspiring sexual objectification and victimization, Buffy the Vampire Slayer offers viewers a representation of female resilience.

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