It’s been said to death at this point, but September marks back-to-school. Although my school years are well behind me, I still feel like I need to get down to work when September hits thanks to, I suppose, the rigid structure that is our education system (or Virgo season, I can’t decide).
September also marks the return of television. I vividly remember going through TV Guide to check out the new shows and to find out what was going on with the shows I loved around the same time I was getting ready to go back to school. So, to mark the beginning of the school year and television year, my vibe for September is Buffy Summers.
While Buffy the Vampire Slayer hasn’t held up for me on recent re-watches, I was obsessed with the show as a teen. Obsessed. I watched it every week without fail. I looked up spoilers on the Internet. I even bought and read the novels – you know, those books that they published that were basically fan fiction. I don’t connect with the show now and think that it’s over-hyped and not as feminist as it claims, but I can’t deny that it was a really important show for me and helped shape my taste in television and film – as embarrassing as that is to admit.
I was also very in to other teen shows at the time (see: Dawson’s Creek), but overall I was way more invested in BtVS because of the all horror elements (also the reason why I put up with Riverdale’s messy second season). It’s just much more exciting to watch someone summon a demon and stake vampires than cry over a high school boy.
Like all the other WB/CW shows, BtVS made me have a grandiose dreams of what high school would be like that, obviously, never panned out. In the world of Buffy, high school was a place where there was a water fountain on campus and cool kids actually hung out in the library. There was an all-ages club for teens where you could hang out and party after class. I found out pretty early that high school was not going to be this fun for me.
The show started when I was 11 but as I got older, I found that I related to Buffy more and more – feeling like an outsider, being bored by school in general, a general dislike of authority figures, refusal to be told what to do, combating the assumption of being a dumb young woman obsessed with boys and shoes. For all its faults (and there are many), the show really was unique in presenting a teen show with a strong female lead who fought against forces far bigger than her. If I had to psycho-analyze myself, I’d guess that the show and the character of Buffy was the springboard that lead me to becoming a feminist.
That and her style was/is absolutely iconic.
Fashion may be seen as frivolous , but forming my style was really pinnacle in helping me understand who I wanted to be and how I wanted to present myself to the world. It’s more than just clothes. And Buffy Summers was (and still is, honestly) my teen fashion queen. Her goth meets Valley style was like, the coolest thing I’d ever seen and I stuffed my wardrobe with cross necklaces, boots, frosted lip-gloss, lace tops, leather jackets, cardigan sets. I even mimicked her up-dos.
While I am still vaguely resentful that TV made me believe high school would be cooler than it actually was, as I meticulously combed through Buffy screencaps to find some of my fave outfits for this post, I noticed that I still feel the way I did when I was 13. I want to be like Buffy – cringey 90’s outfits and all.
So like, whatever, deal with it.
Image source: Screencapped