Burr, Vivien (2006) Bad Girls Like It Rough (-And Good Girls Don’t?): Representations of BDSM in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Phoebe, 18 (1). pp. 45-57. ISSN 1045-0904

The difficulties in discussing and validating non-normative sexual choices, particularly those of women, are widely recognised. For example, Vance (1989) challenged the ways in which feminist arguments and campaigns against pornography and so-called ‘perverted’ sexual practices may in fact have undermined women’s attempts to achieve sexual liberation.
It may be argued, therefore, that TV shows that attempt to go some way towards exploring aspects of sexuality that may be seen by society as less desirable deserve our attention. Jowett (2005) adopts postmodernism as a theoretical perspective, and locates popular culture as a site where important aspects of our identities, such as gender and sexuality, may be struggled after and contested. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) has never avoided the exploration of uncomfortable issues surrounding relationships, sex and sexuality, and they are evidently the focus of concerns and anxieties for many teens and young adults. As a show targeted primarily at young people, one of its central themes over its seven-year run has been sexual relationships. As a result, it has attracted a good deal of criticism from those who claim it is unsuitable for young people and undermines ‘family values’. The show is widely understood as of hybrid genre, combining elements of sci-fi, horror, soap opera, and teen drama, but its supernatural theme and use of vampires and monsters as narrative devices have been central to its capacity to metaphorically explore sensitive issues that would have been much more difficult to address directly

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