There is one thing more than anything else that sticks in my craw about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It is not the vampires or other demons, or even the sudden appearance of Dawn. The thing that bothers me most is that all the Watchers and Watchers council get paid and Buffy, the one of the divine birthright does not get a single cent from them. She puts her life on the line and fights night after night and she does not get paid.
It is obvious to me that Giles must have had a pretty decent salary as he was out of a job for over a year and managed to not only keep affording all his books and his home, but he also managed to buy himself a business with an impressive square footage. Sure it was on the monster beaten path, but it couldn’t have been too cheap to start a full retail business. Even when she gets the Watcher’s Council to rehire Giles, there is no compensation for her. She realizes she has all the power and she still does not get a cut of the loot. How on earth can the council afford to overlook such a relevant fact? If you want some power over a slayer, maybe you should pay her, or at least make sure that she doesn’t become destitute.
Do you really think that Faith would have been so easily swayed by the mayor if she wasn’t living in a piece of shit motel room that she couldn’t really afford? If the Watchers made sure that she wasn’t living hand to mouth then maybe she wouldn’t have been so eager to trash a sporting good store to get weapons.
As much as I love Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I wonder if this is just part of the society we live in at the moment. Joss Whedon tried to make a TV show where the girl was the Hero. She didn’t need anyone to help her but she still got the shit wages. She had a whole industry that was studying her, watching her and getting paid to research her and she almost lost her house and had to get a minimum wage job to pay the bills. We as a society still treat women like that. We don’t pay them as well, and for traditionally female jobs like teaching, nursing, daycare, we don’t pay anyone in those jobs what they are worth.
It reminds me of the whole problem Kristen Stewart had after the affair with a married director. The whole slut shaming aspect of the affair made me wonder at how we are treating all females. We show them as sluts and whores, and then we let the males off the hook. In my mind the whole thing was more of either a huge mistake on her part, or an older boss putting a lot of pressure on his young female underling. Either way, slut shaming her and dropping her from the next picture, firing her, and not having any consequences for the director doesn’t make any sense to me. She is in her early twenties and how will she be able to come back from this after being labelled the “Trampire?”
When we make so much media about how it is ok to slut shame, it is ok for a bunch of old white men to make a lot of money on the back of a girl who didn’t make anything but saved the world, when we venerate the Gossip Girls of the world, maybe it is time to change things a little bit.
I am not going to stop watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I am just going to have in my head an alternate version to tell my boys when the time comes. In season 5 when Buffy figures out that she does indeed have all the power and gets Giles his job back, I will tell the alternate version, that she is bold and asks for some money herself. Buffy has the power and she should be compensated fairly for the work she does. I want my boys to grow up in a world where women are fairly compensated for the work they do, ALL the work they do. I want them to see not the slut shaming, or misogyny, but a world where all people no matter their race, gender, sexual preference, language are treated fairly. So, Joss, if you get the chance, I want Buffy and Faith to get a fair and decent wage. It might not be as good for the story arc, but it would make me feel so much better about the show.