Buffy vs. Twilight - Stalking Comparisonby Jonathan McIntosh
A comparison of stalking scenes in the 2008 film Twilight and in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
There are strikingly similar narrative elements present in both the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and in the 2008 feature film Twilight.
Both stories follow a teenage heroine as she develops a relationship with an
older male vampire. Both also contain stalking sequences in which the
female protagonist walks alone at night and is followed by shadowy
figures. The similarities, however, end there as each saga has radically different outcomes and narrative lessons.
In Twilight Bella is confronted by a group of aggressive, drunken frat boys, and begins to defend herself – but is interrupted when Edward, her vampire love interest, swoops in to rescue her. In the next scene, when pressed, Edward admits to stalking her but insists it is only for her protection, saying: "I was trying to keep a distance unless you needed my help." Bella responds by condoning his behavior, timidly telling him not to stay away from her.
In contrast, Buffy turns the tables on her pursuer by knocking him to
the ground, stepping on his chest and demanding answers (episode #1).
Later Buffy stops in a dark ally and, annoyed, confronts her pursuer
again – who again turns out to be her own vampire love interest, Angel.
When questioned he also admits to following her in case she might need
his help. Buffy’s having none of it, asserting that she can take care of
herself and delivering her brilliantly pointed line: “You know, being
stalked isn’t really a big turn on for girls” (episode #13).
Comparing these sequences we see examples of how the dynamics embedded in the two relationships are completely different. Buffy quickly establishes control in each potentially dangerous situation while Bella is perpetually cast as the damsel in distress. Stalking, spying and over-protective male behavior is present in Buffy's world but it is always framed as creepy or inappropriate and is often the subject of ridicule. The same type of male behavior in the Twilight series is framed as romantic, sexy and a sign of "true love".
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