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Heroines of Joss Whedon’s Universe

Joss Whedon’s innovation was to treat the female heroine as male heroes had been, creating female Peter Parkers, but also to recognize the painful reality this imposed particularly on the feminine psyche. The psychological punishment of loneliness and having to shoulder impossible burdens with no one to lean on is at the root of the Whedonverse heroines, as it is at the root of the Whedon influenced “Veronica Mars.”

The self-sacrifice of the heroines created by Joss Whedon is rooted in what they can never have. When in the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” episode “Anne”, Buffy abandons her responsibilities and escapes to L.A. where she works as a waitress and turns her back on her destiny, as she is drawn back to search for a missing boy, in her confrontation with a worker at a blood bank who had been feeding the names of healthy teenagers to a demon slave labor camp, Buffy says; “I don’t want any trouble. I just wanna be alone and quiet in a room with a chair and a fireplace and a tea cozy. I don’t even know what a tea cozy is but I want one.”

This is an attitude typical of Whedonverse heroines who remain girls at heart, wanting a more feminine life, wanting to be the princess, the girl in the schoolroom and knowing that they cannot, push away the heartbreak and get on with the job that needs to be done and the fight ahead that needs to be won. They do not and cannot look forward to a happy ending. In the Buffyverse most slayers finish up by being killed by that one Vampire or Demon who has himself, in Spike’s words, “A lucky day.” A day that comes about when the Slayer finally gives up hope and allows herself to be killed. They do not fight on out of hope, but out of the recognition that what they do must be done and that their own nature and the nature of the world around them has left them no choice but to go out and do it.

Read More here Buffy, River, Faith and Fray, Female Heroines in the Whedonverse

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