This recent post by Shadowkat about shipping Spuffy and gender reversals in the relationship shadowkat67.livejournal.com/793238.html
linked on Buffyforums by Moscow Watcher got me to write a short reply about my views, which are a bit different from hers. I can't do that on her LJ because she flipped out on me with absolutely no reason and attacked me on her LJ about a month ago and then blocked me.
Incidentally, I'd love to know which five factions of Spuffy shippers she thinks there are, and would ask her if I could. I also wonder if the "vast majority" of Spuffy shippers really identify with Spike rather than Buffy? A poll would be interesting, but I'm not sure where the best place to conduct it would be.
Anyway, here are some things I agree with in that essay, and some that I disagree with. I think her view of the relationship as a "gender-flipped one" in which Buffy is in control is oversimplified and doesn't quite match how I see it. It's not that she's not right - it's that this is just a part of the complexity of the dynamic. There are some ways in which their gender roles are flipped - and some ways in which they are not
. Spike does play the male version of the femme fatale (homme fatale
?), but I can tell you many ways in which Spike also plays some classic masculine roles, from admirer/courtly lover to stalker/pursuer to aggressive male seducer to reformed beast/bad boy. Likewise for the roles that Buffy plays. The closest to how I see it is what an academic essay on Spuffy said - they don't flip gender roles, they share
gender roles. I don't think anyone was "in control" of the relationship, especially not in season 6 which was a constant struggle. I know the view expressed in this essay, it's the view of many female Spuffy shippers who identify with Spike and not with Buffy. But I don't share it and it misses a lot of the complexity of the relationship. Which is what makes it all the more interesting. I'm not interested in the same old story with genders just flipped, or in stories where one person is in control and the other one is a "bottom" (kind of funny in the context).
I particularly disagree with her summary of Buffy/Angel. Her view is, again, one I know, since it tends to be the view of female fans of Spike who dislike Angel and Bangel. You might know I'm not fond of Bangel anymore and haven't been for a long time (to put it mildly), but I find this view, again, oversimplified, and it doesn't match how I see it:
The trope is older/experienced guy, powerful, knowledgable, wealthy and a control freak with either a dark secret, a dark past, or an abusive childhood - seduces younger girl, who is less experienced, and not wealthy and who saves him or heals him in some way. It's a partriachial trope for a patriachial world. Examples? Stefan/Elena, Angel/Buffy, Christian Grey/Anatasia, Edward/Bella, Dracula/Mina, Mr. Rochester/Jane Eyre, Cordelia/Angel, Fred/Wesely, Fred/Gunn, Echo/ What'shisname who played Helo (Ballard?) there are others. It's an old trope. I'm not belittling the trope. I liked it at one point. It's popular for a reason. I like to call it the Beauty and the Beast complex. It sort of goes back to that fairy tale, I think. Very popular with the 18-24 set. Also for some reason with successful career women and mothers in their 40s, if Shades of Grey is any indication.
A few of the pairings listed don't really match that description either, but I'll focus on Bangel here.( Thought on Bangel be here )