1. You can kick vamp butt in a miniskirt. Importantly, a sexy miniskirt was not mandatory for kicking the undead's behind. Most of B's hunting clothes involved a lot of normcore '90s denim. But should duty happen to call on a date or during prom, the Buffster could treat the mortally challenged to Mr. Pointy in a pair of tight red leather pants, no problems. Lesson learned? Femininity is no barrier to competence. In the words of the divine Ms. Zooey Deschanel, "I want to be a f**king feminist and wear a f**king Peter Pan collar. So f**king what?" We wear what we want, when we want and that's our choice, dammit. Even if it involves chokers and a lot of butterfly clips.
2. You can just. Say. No. Let's be real: Buffy was a bit of martyr, and in the final few seasons the girl did not miss the chance to indulge in a woe-is-me monologue about the unavoidability of her fate. But our hero was also good at saying no. As Oprah assures us, "No is a complete sentence." And Buffy said no: to sex, to selling her friends out, to killing her sister who was really a magic key, to being put in a box, a.k.a. a coffin. Buffy spoke her mind. Buffy said no.
3. You can cry at work. The idea that you can't cry at work is sexist and weird. Crying is a part of being human. When we're frustrated, pissed off, tired or emotional, we cry. Like breast-feeding or getting a bit hairy, that's what our bodies are made for. Buffy cried all the time: she wasn't afraid to be vulnerable and she was the Chosen One. She was the defender of the earth! Let them tears fly, son!
4. You can change your mind about who you want to f*ck. We all know you can say yes and then say no. You can also say no and then say yes, especially if you're talking about doing it to Spike. Joss Whedon made all our fan fic dreams came true with Spuffy, the hottest pairing on the show outside that one ep where Faith and B got all bad girl on us. I am, like, 85% gay and that other 15% is devoted to bad boy Brit vamps with bleach jobs. Hashtag rawr *cat claw*.
5. You can be fun, funny, and feminist. Time to go meta. Prior to Buffy, I barely thought twice about the fact that the shows I enjoyed-Seinfeld, Friends, Lois & Clark-were not robustly progressive shows. They weren't monsters and sure, they had their moments, but complex storylines about female power, self-reliance, surviving sexual violence or the many other female-centric ideas that Buffy explored did not exist in playful pop culture, as far as I was aware. Buffy changed that. It spoke directly to my sense of humor and my politics. It was a show that I didn't have to enjoy by ignoring all the sexist parts. It inspired me to create my own feminist pop culture, and for that, I am truly grateful.
Thanks Slaygal. You'll always be five-by-five in my book.