Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reading Buffy Synoptically: Musings on Glory/Ben

I would argue that moral ambiguity rather than gender tensions, as Lorna Jowett claims (Sex and the Slayer, pp. 92-93), is central to understanding the Glory/Ben character, the big bad of Buffy season five. Buffy repeatedly highlights the potential all of us have for good and for evil and the ambiguities associated with this conflict by portraying moral tensions in the Glory/Ben relationship (“The Weight of the World”).

This doesn’t mean that gender is irrelevant to the Glory/Ben character. Glory is put into the body of a human male (Ben) by her rivals in order that she can be contained. This may be read as a sly comment on traditional western gender culture where men have controlled and contained women or it may be a comment on the fact that each of us have a bit of the male and female in all of us. Of course, one can raise the issue of why Mutant Enemy made the “big bad” of season five a woman and her container male. To answer this question, however, requires more than simply crystal ball textual analysis, more than simply staring into a text for enlightenment. It requires production research.

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