I could elaborate, but I think I will just throw some links at y'all that explain it better than I can.
Actually okay I've changed my mind I will take this opportunity to talk (ABOUT MY FEELINGS BECAUSE WHO AM I) after all.
So. Buffy is actually a character that I never expected to love as much as I do. I always LIKED her, and admired her, and sympathized with her from the start. But I just could not see how I was supposed to be able to identify with her at all. I mean, that flashback of her in L.A. in “Becoming”? Yeah… No.
Weirdly, I never really had this problem with Cordelia. Probably because – at least, in the beginning – she was clearly not supposed to be a role model, hence the viewer need not feel bad about being nothing like her.
Which was my main struggle with Buffy in the early seasons. I say ‘struggle’ there, which may not be the best word for it, because it’s not like I was battling the forces of darkness oh god. But I did find that my feelings for Buffy would change a lot from episode to episode. Some episodes I would feel for her a lot and relate with what she was going through really strongly, and then at other points I would just feel completely disconnected and be like GIRL HOW DOES YOUR MIND WORK I DO NOT KNOW.
To illustrate: Think of the scene where flashback!Buffy comes home after killing her first vampire and then cries in front of her mirror while her parents yell at each other about their problematic daughter in the next room.
And now think of this: “When you kiss me, I want to die.”
Yeah. I think y’all get what I’m saying.
And then you have season 3 and I see a lot of people saying that Faith is really difficult to relate to, unlike Buffy who is a super relatable person. Which has always left me cold because in S3? I completely understand Faith. It is not even a problem.
And you better believe that identifying more with the antagonist than the hero is a fucking weird place to be. (SOML, bored now.)
And thus, I was thinking about the “Who Are You”/”Dead Things” parallels recently and I have come to the conclusion that what goes down in that shit is totally the difference between early-season Buffy and late-season Buffy.
In ‘Who Are You’, Faith-as-Buffy beats the shit out of, well, herself. And screams at ‘herself’ about what a piece of shit she is. After the two are put back in their proper bodies, Buffy seems completely astonished about the amount of rage and self-hatred that Faith has.
But two years later, Buffy does the exact same thing. (Except with Spike.)
And that’s it, really, to me.
In the early seasons, Buffy is the girl viewers dream of being. (How many times have you heard the phrase ‘I wanted to be Buffy!’)
In the later seasons? There is not a being on Earth who would want to be her.
Not even touching on the colossal emotional trauma she experiences starting from S5 (not that she didn’t have plenty before, but that is really the season shit starts piling on her), Buffy also becomes the kind of girl who fails to live up to the paradigm of social acceptability.
She’s hard. She’s cold. She doesn’t cry on her boyfriend’s shoulder enough. She has difficulty expressing love. She turns away from it. She strings along guys she has no intention of committing to. She has a superiority complex. She has an inferiority complex. She blows up at her friends rather than open up to them. She shuts the world out. She doesn’t want to live in it. She doesn’t see the point. She’s mentally ill. She can’t feel anything. She believes that what she does feel are weaknesses. She has anger issues. She’s not an extrovert. She can’t connect to people. She doesn’t deserve them.
And that. That is my girl.
Also, apologies in advance to my non-Buffy flisters for the spam over the next month.