Read this a few years ago in “Ms.Magazine”. Found it again online. I was already watching BTVS before this, but this made me love the show even more. From the mag, bitchmagazine.org:
“The Buffy Effect”
In the early 1990s, vampire mythology, horror revival, teen angst, and kick-ass grrlness congealed in a new figure in the pop culture pantheon of the paranormal: the vampire slayer. Not just any vampire hunter, mind you, but Buffy, the Valley-dwelling teenage slayer. Before Buffy, vampire stories and horror movies alike focused primarily on the male monster antagonists who preyed on innocent nubile young things. But in 1992, Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s eponymous protagonist kickboxed her way, via the big screen, into our heroine-starved, media-junkie feminist hearts, along the way reconfiguring the popular vampire/horror text.
Buffy was explicitly conceived as a feminist reimagining of the horror genre: Screenwriter/tv producer Joss Whedon has said in interviews that his very inspiration for Buffy came from years of watching horror movies in which “bubbleheaded blondes wandered into dark alleys and got murdered by some creature.” Whedon wanted to make a movie where the blonde “wanders into a dark alley, takes care of herself, and deploys her powers” to kill the monster. Buffy’s exploits implicate the audience in a witty defiance of genre conventions: Instead of shouting, “Don’t go in there!” to the naive gal traipsing through the darkened vacant house, we shout, “Go, girl!” as Buffy enters the dark alley to dispatch the monster of the moment with her quick thinking and martial-arts prowess.
For more, read here.