The University of Newcastle, Australia

Researcher talks Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Contemporary Feminism

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Early modern women’s writing researcher, and author of I'm Buffy and You're History: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Contemporary Feminism, Dr Trisha Pender, recently spoke at the Supanova Comic Con and Gaming Expo at the Sydney Showground Olympic Park on June 17.

UON's Dr Trisha Pender, right, and Linda Drummond talk Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the recent at the Supanova Comic Con and Gaming Expo in Sydney.

A member of the Centre for 21st Century Humanities, Dr Pender along with UoN’s Linda Drummond discussed the most studied text in all of pop culture, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The Supanova Comic Con and Gaming Expo has been the home of Australia’s pop culture fandom for 17 years. It’s a place where fans inspired by comics, sci-fi, fantasy, gaming and literature come together to celebrate and enjoy dressing in costume and expressing their love of pop culture.

Trisha spoke to a colourful crowd dressed as pop culture characters about her book and how to reconcile the problematic aspects of Buffy from a feminist perspective.

“People continually take issue with the character of Buffy and her blond, athletic, white, WASP aesthetic and appearance. But you can be a femme and a feminist at the same time,” Trisha noted.

She also discussed the issue of race and its depiction in the show and the manifestation of anger in Buffy.

Trisha’s book I'm Buffy and You're History: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Contemporary Feminism was released in the era of Brexit, Trump, and the Liberal party re-taking power in Australia, a time, Trisha says, when Buffy and everything she stands for is still relevant.

“The show has a salient message about fighting injustice and showing girls they can fight back. I think that’s a really powerful message,” Trisha stated.

Trisha also recently spoke on Buffy at the Williamstown Literary Festival in Victoria. She took part in a conversation style event alongside feminist author and commentator Clementine Ford and Dr Jenny Lee entitled “Are you ready to be strong? Exploring Buffy as a feminist icon.”

“It’s been 20 years since Buffy first appeared on our screens as an exhilarating alternative to the tired cultural trope of a hapless, attractive blonde woman victimized by a murderous male villain,” Trisha said.

“Even though the series finished in 2003, it still went on to inspire an unprecedented number of monographs, edited collections, conferences, book chapters, journal articles, and even university courses that grapple with the Buffy phenomenon in one way or another,” Trisha said.