Right wing fundamentalists have had a hard week. The gays getting married, the breast cancer foundation deciding poor women should get breast exams, the television showing girls kissing girls and boys kissing boys. Even comic books are promoting the liberal agenda, as you know if you read Dark Horse’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
SPOILERS AHEAD. Seriously.
Season 9 of Buffy has been tough for our Buff. Creator Joss Whedon and editor Scott Allie decided to take the Scoobies back to basics, which meant a return to the original TV show’s purpose: to follow the story of a young woman with a mission.
“Buffy was always about the arc of a life, and it wasn’t ever going to be one of those shows where they were perpetually in high school and never asked why,” Whedon told USA Today. “It was about change. So there’s never a time when Buffy’s life isn’t relevant.”
So this season, Buffy sort of got booted back into the real world. She’s in her early 20s and everyone around her seems to be growing up and figuring out what they want to do with their lives. But with magic gone and a new kind of zombie vampire (“zompires”) roaming around San Francisco, Buffy is a bit lost. Instead of dealing with huge end-of-the-world threats, she has to face a challenge she’s put off: growing up.
The season started in the aftermath of a wild party that Buffy can’t quite remember and at the end of Issue #5, she found out that she’s pregnant — with no idea who the father is.
In this week’s issue, Buffy tells Spike that she’s decided to end the pregnancy. (Cue anti-choice screams of horror.)
She doesn’t approach the decision lightly. Buffy gets input from all sides and takes a long, hard look at herself, her life, and her uncertain future. In fact, she has a very intense discussion with Robin, whose mom, Nikki, was a slayer who preceded Buffy.
That conversation may be the most important thing Whedon and writer Andrew Chambliss do with this story arc. Bloggers that write about “Buffy the baby slayer” this week won’t write about the heart wrenching process of deciding what to do. Giving women the power of choice certainly doesn’t make choosing easy.
The Mary Sue’s Jamie Frevele astutely compares the plotline to the pregnancy in Twilight: Breaking Dawn, when Bella “refused to end a pregnancy that was literally killing her, but then it all turned out okay in the end, because of vampire magic.” Buffy knows better — she understands that choosing either to have the baby or not will have actual, real life consequences.
Sure, Bella exercised her power of choice by continuing the pregnancy despite Edward’s objections. But she did so without taking the consequence of her own death seriously. “What Stephanie Meyer did was tear Bella apart from the inside,” Frevele writes, “repair her with vampire magic when she was near death after the gruesome birth, and then it was all okay in the end. In other words: ‘See? It all turned out okay! We fixed you! And now you have a baby and you’ll be with Edward forever!’”
As irrational as it is, that kind of magic thinking seems to pervade the anti-choice movement: have the baby no matter what and everything will turn out fine. Whatever you may think about the morality of abortion, disregarding the life and circumstances of a pregnant woman can hardly be called “pro-life.”
The creators and editors of Buffy the Vampire Slayer deserve a lot of credit for exploring at least some of the complicated issues surrounding the right to choose. Whether Buffy follows through with ending the pregnancy or not, addressing the decision directly honors the character and her fans.
What do you think of this storyline? Do you think the way Buffy’s pregnancy is being handled is true to the series? Are you proud to be part of the Buffyverse?