By Purple Smurf
I've noticed of late that I've been moving further and further away from my One True Fandom of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm used to not participating in discussions of the show (generally speaking, it helps to have actually watched the most recent episodes for that), but it's gotten to the point where I'll go weeks without reading a piece of Buffy fanfiction, something that's been unheard of since I discovered the online community.
It's not like I'm getting overly involved in other fandoms, either. I mean, I dabble, but BtVS is still my OTF, no matter what. As I was thinking about this in the shower this morning (yes, hello to another of Smurfy's Shower Rants™) I realised what has been scaring me off, even more than my abhorrence of Buffy!Bashing fics that have become so common in B/A fandom, is the amount of post-Chosen fics that have Angel chastising Buffy for looking after Spike in season seven, after The Attempted Rape. Not knowing when this will show up, I've found myself avoiding fic in general more and more often.
I can handle the "Buffy decides she's cooked five minutes after the end of Chosen" fics. I grit my teeth and rant at my Mutual Groupie about it, but I can handle them.
But when Angel starts going on about everything Spike did pre-season seven? Hello, pot, meet kettle.
I expect this kind of thing from Xander in fic. I can handle that. I have put up with this kind of thing from Xander on the show and in fic for years. But when Angel becomes even more Xangel-like than he was in AtS season 3? I blow my roof.
I'm not pro-Spuffy in any way, shape or form. But I can accept it, because I'm far more Buffy-centric than B/A-centric.
And when B/A shippers start chastising her for taking in someone who stalked her and terrorised her and killed her friends and tortured her Watcher... wait, Spike never killed her friends or tortured her Watcher, did he? I don't think he ever tried to suck the world into hell, either...
I believe this is the point where all us B/A shippers start crying out about how that's different. How Angel didn't have a soul when he did all that.
Well, Spike didn't have a soul when he stalked, terrorised and tried to rape and/or kill Buffy, either.
I recognise that JM doesn't play Soulless!Spike compared to Souled!Spike as differently as DB did with Angelus vs Angel, and that it doesn't help in separating the two as much as people tend to separate Angel from Angelus (and let's not go into the level at which they are or are not separate beings, because I really don't have the energy for that level of wankage at the moment). I also recognise that it doesn't really help that Spike keeps wearing what I keep hearing referred to as "the flayed skin of Wood's mother".
Excuse me whilst I go off and drool over the concept of DB continuing wearing those leather pants, soul or no soul... for every episode of both series... this could get messy...
Back to the point of this. The reason I don't read fic anymore, or only read it when I'm certain of the author and/or it's been approved by my fellow Buffy!Whores as being okay, is the complete and utter hypocrisy I see in my little section of fandom.
The fans who are saying how they can "never see Buffy as a hero again" because she took Spike back in would have had a seizure if Buffy had treated Angel when he came back from hell in the manner they are proposing for Spike. If they say that's "different", I ask them: how is it different? If anything, what Angel did whilst he was soulless in season 2 is far worse than what Spike did in the entire time he's been on the show.
Yes, Spike (sans soul) tried to rape Buffy. If he'd come back without a soul, I'd have been the first in line for Buffy to stake his ass.
But he came back with a soul. And by accepting Angel as being different people with and without soul, we have to do the same with Spike.
When Angel didn't have a soul, he stalked Buffy. He stalked her friends. He didn't just steal her underwear, he stalked her in a "I'm biding my time until I kill you" kind of way. He killed her school friends, and sent them as messengers of doom. He killed Jenny. He tortured Giles. He tried to suck the world into hell.
Maybe he didn't try to rape her, but that depends on which fanon you follow.
When he came back, Buffy nursed him. She stood up to her friends for him. And if we say that it's different because Buffy loved Angel, then aren't we saying that Xander was right all along?
So that's why I find myself struggling to read fanfiction now, and I know that it seeps through and into general apathy towards the show. I've been blind-sided by Buffy!Bashing before, and in this case? The hypocrisy shown by the authors via the characters they manipulate is just too much. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
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