Rising to the Challenge
It’s not hard to see Buffy Summers as an example of female empowerment. She’ll rip her skirt to get more power behind a windmill kick. She knows her way around a stake and a crossbow. But in a post Tomb Raider world we’re not really lacking in female characters who literally kick ass in varying degrees of curve hugging clothing. Buffy’s ability to jump from her back to a standing position to continue to slay the forces of darkness isn’t why I look up to her (though it has become a goal of mine, minus the slaying): it’s because she sees how hard it can be, and does it anyways.
In the Season 1 finale of Buffy, the 16 year old slayer learns she is destined to die before she can finish sophomore year. She reacts like most teens handed a death sentence; she cries, she yells, she bargains, she tries to run away. But then she does what others might not; she comes back to fight, knowing the danger to herself, in the hope she can help others.
I can’t relate to Buffy’s physical strength. I would lose an arm wrestling contest to a toddler. In a middle school science class we were asked to count how many times we could lift a bucket filled with sand in a minute; I couldn’t even lift it off the ground. But I think everyone can relate to facing a scary situation and wanting nothing more then to put on your fuzziest pajamas, crawl under your bed and hope the situation works itself out. If Buffy can deal with the vampires, I would think, I can write my term paper. It won’t try to eat me.
And as a person who’s private with their emotions(read: makes sure the door is locked and there’s construction going on before I watch the end of Homeward Bound), Buffy also taught me it’s ok it freak out sometimes, as long as you can get it together when you’re really needed. What would Buffy do? She might panic. But she always rises to the challenge.