Sunday, August 05, 2012

Once More into the Spuffy Breach, Dear Friends, Or; My Evolving and Complicated Relationship with Spike

There was a day when I was a teenager, probably 15 or 16, when I saw the sex scene from "Smashed" (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, if you didn't already know from the post title) on television.  It was completely out of context.  I literally clicked the remote onto the channel right at the moment where Buffy and Spike were making out, tearing down a house, and fucking.  And my jaw dropped.  And I was like, "holy shit, is this seriously on TV right now?"  And then I was simply very aware of how turned on I was by the whole scene.

Cut to... At least seven years later and I still haven't really watched Buffy cuz honestly I didn't care that much about the show, but friends of mine are STILL raving about it so I finally give in and decide to watch it - also there's that sex scene at some point to see again and I'll be honest: I was looking forward to it.  So I watch the series, and I get really invested in Spike as a character.  Yeah, he is really stalkery, but that's ok (it's not really [and I'm over-simplifying my reaction, I wasn't ok with it then either but I also chose to sort of let it go]), and he doesn't know how to take no for an answer (not cute IRL in any way).  BUT WHO CARES LOOK AT HIM OMG (no really though you should care, but I didn't).

But despite this, when I got to that sex scene again... It didn't affect me the way it did that first time.  I suspect because, in part, I knew the story that went along with it.  Truthfully the kiss at the end of "Once More, With Feeling" affected me more (IN MY PANTS) than that sex scene did.  But I still have lots of feelings about that sex scene because of what it meant to me the first time I saw it, and I felt I should continue having those feelings for it.  I certainly was still attracted to Spike, hugely so, so I just accepted that perhaps part of the fun of that first viewing was that it came out of nowhere and caught me by surprise - along with that sense of (in my parents living room sort of late at night) "I should NOT be watching this right now!"  But still, that it didn't affect me the same way bothered me.  And has continued to bother me.

Cut to lots of years later and Mark of Mark Watches getting to season six of Buffy, getting to this episode and his reaction...could not be more different than mine was over ten years ago now and I'm just like "WHAT?" because you see I'm still really invested in this scene and this character.  But along with that "WHAT?" reaction is the same nagging little voice that bothered me the last time I watched this scene, the one that's like, "you're not turned on, why is that?"  The very non-reaction of my body to this scene is in itself a reaction and it's one that I don't know how to process.  Hell it's been processing for years at this point and I still don't know how to express what I feel and why it matters even as I know it does matter to me.

The best I can figure is that this matters to me now because I understand something about the politics of desire - that what we desire is as imbued with political meaning as everything else.  I started exploring that in my posts about how it bothered me when I realized my "hottest guys" list was populated exclusively by white men.  I have over the years consciously forced awareness of these things onto myself, in an effort to decolonize my mind in this arena to the best of my ability (with noticeable positive results).  And it was roughly during this period that I watched Buffy all the way through for the first time.  I was subconsciously already processing these issues when I watched the series, though I wouldn't be able to write about (or articulate) them until much later (obviously).  Although, if you look back, my very first posts on this blog were reposts from livejournal about...what else?  Spuffy. (P.S. those posts have major spoilers so if you're watching for the first time don't go looking for them, also if you do go looking for them please excuse my ableist language. Good gods that is some old writing...)

Quite frankly I don't know if I'm ready to dissect my attraction to Spike.  I am certain that is a very loaded piece of my psyche, maybe that doesn't NEED to be totally unpacked? (I waffle on this).  But here's what I do know.  I do know that what Mark wrote in his reactions to these scenes and this relationship hit me in the gut.  I do know that I had a hot mess of conflicted feelings reacting to what he wrote; some of which are very personal feelings about whether or not I am in fact a fucked up person (in ways I didn't already know about/am not ready/don't want to deal with).  And I do know that I've been putting off going back and rewatching that episode; that I'm wary of what I might find this time around.  I also know that, given the clusterfuck of a reaction the fandom has given Mark as a result of his writing on that episode (now dubbed the Great Spuffy Meltdown of 2012 by Mark himself), I am getting indications that maybe my reactions to these scenes and this relationship are ones I SHOULD analyze more than I have.

And for once I don't really have a conclusion here, I'm just kind of laying out the things I've been thinking about.  I keep thinking about these things off and on as I read Mark's reviews, and revisiting feelings that have lain dormant for YEARS as it goes along.  I know there are Buffy fans who read my stuff, what do you think about all this?  What were/have been your feelings watching this relationship evolve?  Where is consent in their sexual relationship, if it's there at all?  I remember brownfemipower having some interesting thoughts about the sort of BDSM type nature of the Spuffy relationship and its being a rare instance of that sort of relationship being OK on mainstream television and agreeing with her interpretation, but I haven't been able to find those posts again on tumblr.  Does something along those lines ring true for you?  Or am I just way out in left field?

No comments:

Post a Comment

whatsername reserves the right to delete your comment if you choose to act like an asshole, so please engage respectfully