If Edward Stalked Buffy Instead of Bella…

Buffy Summers is probably one of the strongest female characters ever written for television (and I don’t mean because of her supernatural strength). She’s a teenage girl who goes through perfectly normal teenage girl experiences, but she also fights real monsters. She doesn’t let herself be manipulated easily and never lets anyone else direct her life for her. She is her own master, even at sixteen. She is definitely her own person and has her own distinct personality.

Bella Swan of Twilight is not really any of these things. Not only is she passive to the point of being almost unable to do anything on her own, but she’s got so little personality that it’s hard to describe her without mentioning at least one guy. I don’t think she fell for Edward because he was special (he wasn’t unique in any way other than perhaps his ability to stalk disturbingly effectively). I think that she would have fallen for any guy who paid attention to her, and who could have paid her more attention than obsessive Edward?

So what would have happened if Edward had obsessed over a girl like Buffy instead of the willowy nothing Bella that he did? Through some creative editing, Rebellious Pixels has given a likely answer to that question.

Hmm… picking a girl with a backbone doesn’t seem to have gone well for Edward, does it?

The commentary this video makes is really interesting. While Bella seems unaware of the inherent creepiness of Edward’s behavior, Buffy notices it right away. She is bothered by him from the moment he walks through the door, although perhaps the moment when he introduces himself (something people do every day without being creepy) best illustrates how off-putting even the most innocent of Edward’s overture’s can seem. Buffy seems to decide that Edward is harmless, if annoying, and pretty much tries to ignore him.

I noticed two pivotal moments in this video. The first happens when Edward comes to talk to Buffy at the dance club. She makes it very clear that she doesn’t really want to talk to him and that he’s being creepy, but he really doesn’t seem to understand (or maybe he just doesn’t care) and he persists in talking to her. Here’s how I read the scene (Edward’s dialogue is unchanged):

Edward: I’m on a… special diet.

Buffy: Duh. Vampire. Now why the hell are you talking to me? You’re creepy and weird, even for a vampire. Go away. I’m letting you live, but only because you’re pathetic.

Edward: I feel… very… protective… of you.

Buffy: (Oh my god, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me. This guy is even more pathetic than I thought. This isn’t even worth my time.) *gets up to leave*

Edward: Don’t leave. I…

Buffy: *walking away* (I can take care of myself and if you’re too stupid to figure that out, that’s really your problem, isn’t it?)

He later follows her at night and she tells him flat out that being stalked “isn’t really a big turn-on for girls”, but he just storms away. Clearly he’s not getting the message. Buffy confides in Willow, her friend, a couple of times and both of them decide that this guy is bad news.

The second major pivotal moment, however, is when Buffy wakes up and finds Edward sitting in her bedroom watching her sleep. She, understandably, reacts very strongly to this and tells him to get out or she will “drop [him] out head first”. He seems to think this moment is sweet and romantic (reading his facial expression, body language and tone of voice), even after the threat is made. Of course, he’s thrown out the window. Edward is clearly not used to a girl who can hold her own.

He tries once more, telling her she’s like his “own personal brand of heroin” and that he’s never wanted a human’s blood so much before. Buffy points out that this is childish, overblown and a little disgusting. She also expresses boredom at all the drama. At this point, since Edward has proven himself to be not as harmless as he seemed (he invaded her bedroom if nothing else), Buffy stakes him. It’s a nice, neat ending to a very creepy stalker story. I have to say, this version was much more satisfying for me than Twilight actually is. I found Edward’s insistent stalking more than a little creepy and disturbing, as Buffy obviously did too.

Women are not prey to be tracked and bagged, which is how Bella is treated by Edward. They are people in their own rights who deserve privacy and respect, as Buffy shows in this version. This remixed version of Twilight was excellent and I hope that it illustrates to more people some of the problems with the story Twilight tells.

17 Comments

  1. jonathan said,

    June 25, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    The youtube version might work better for posting to your site:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZwM3GvaTRM

  2. jonathan said,

    June 25, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Love your commentary about the video BTW, one of my favorite posts so far on the topic!

  3. Rosepixie said,

    June 25, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Thank you for the link to the YouTube version! You’re right, that fits much better, so I’ve switched.

  4. Eva said,

    June 25, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    I’m with you 100%. I love that video. :)

  5. Cathrine said,

    July 2, 2009 at 8:53 am

    I totally agree with what you say, and I want to add, I was on the rebellious pixels page and they linked to peoples reactions (that’s how I found this commentary) and what you said about letting more people know about the stalker issues in the book, a reaction on a twilight fan page there were tons of comments that say something along the line of ‘OMG this video makes Edward look like such a stalker, well, he sorta is, but Bella would be flattered, what’s wrong with Buffy?’ Are girls that ill informed? That so long as your stalked by someone hot, it’s ok? I’m seriously scared for the next generation

  6. Rosepixie said,

    July 2, 2009 at 10:31 am

    It really is scary, Catherine. I used to work in a bookstore where I got to hear girls swooning over the Twilight books every day and talking about how Edward and Bella had an epic romance. They frequently expressed a desire to find a guy just like Edward and it genuinely scared me. I wanted to take them to the self-improvement section, but I don’t think they would have understood. Twilight sends a very disturbing message. It doesn’t have to if you read it and think about it, but I think there are real problems in seeing Edward’s stalking as romantic and acceptable.

  7. R said,

    July 2, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    I’m a 17 years old girl whose friends are madly in love with the Twilight series. I just don’t get it. I started watchint the show when I as 10. I own the dvds. I love the show, but what I love the most is how they portray Buffy. She’s a really strong female characters (it makes me think of Sarah Connor, Xena or Farscape’s Aeryn), and I love that she can take care of herself. It may has something to do with it, with being in love with the show, but I can’t see how people find the relationship that Bella & Edward have romantic @ all. Ive read the books (at least, the first and the second, not the others) and I don’t get it. But what I hate the most is that people really think that it’s romantic, being stalked and all. It freaks me out, really.

    We may need another show like Buffy. I mean it.

  8. notjustagirl said,

    November 16, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I think one of the better points that people just don’t get is, that Twilight and Buffy aren’t all that different.
    Both heroines were stalked by vampires (Buffy twice, first by Angel, then Spike) yet both women proceeded to have romances with them. Buffy in particular sends a very creepy and really repellent message, that if you stalk a woman enough you will wear her down, as with Spike.

    I don’t doubt for a moment that if Edward Cullen were somehow written into the Jossverse by his own so called feminist self, that he would either be used to prove the point that Buffy is a ”strong female character” and rejected, OR that she would initiate a romance with him, depending on Joss’ mood that day and if Boreanaz or Marsters had re-signed with him (the actors that played Angel and Spike, respectively)

    If anyone has really viewed the series closely, the only really ”strong female character” in the entire series was Tara, who was regrettably killed off. (Who played the tough love card to the end, refusing to reconcile with her lover until an addiction problem had been addressed.) Not by valiantly sacrificing herself, not through defending her loved ones….but by a stray bullet, not even intended for her. Way to go, Joss.

  9. Rosepixie said,

    November 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I think that a lot of the criticisms you level at Buffy (and, by extension, Joss) are totally fair. Buffy has a lot of issues, especially when it comes to sexuality and boundary issues. I think you’re right that Tara is totally underrespected a lot of the time, since she really was an amazing character and did a lot to highlight some of the big issues with many of the other characters.

    I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say that none of the other female characters were strong, though. Buffy was pretty damn strong and very worthy of aspiring to in many ways, even if her romantic life was totally messed up and definitely one of the weaker parts of the series, from a feminist point of view. Willow, likewise, had a fantastic arc and was a strong character in her own right, although again, one plagued by personal demons (in her case, addiction issues). But having one area of your life being not perfect (or even downright horrible) doesn’t mean you can’t be considered a strong character. No one is perfect. Stories about perfect people are generally boring and hard to relate too.

    I agree that the stalker-related message from Buffy is pretty creepy too, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t use media from the show to try and show a different message or try and illustrate how and why something considered so romantic really *isn’t*. Just because the video uses clips from Buffy doesn’t mean that the creator doesn’t necessarily think that Buffy maybe should have taken her own advice sometimes (although you’d have to ask him). I certainly think she should have!

  10. Miscelaneopolan said,

    November 22, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Hey. I was linked here from the youtube video and have enjoyed the discussion.

    As a big Buffy fan, I feel I have to come to its defense. While it’s true that, in the course of the series, Buffy had relationships with not one but two vampires that initially stalked her (Angel and Spike), I think it’s important to pay attention to the way that stalking was portrayed and the breadth of the stories that were told. When Angel was stalking Buffy near the beginning of the show, it was portrayed as creepy. Angel was a monster, and Buffy was his potential prey. Those initial moments eventually gave way to a story about star-crossed lovers, and indeed, Buffy and Angel expressed some of the same longing and deep love for each other that Bella and Edward do. But again, consider how that all worked out. Angel and Buffy’s relationship was a continuing series of heartbreaks until, at the end of the Third Season, the two of them decided that even though they loved each other, their differences could not be overcome. They broke up because they both understood that love by itself wasn’t enough, that they had to grow up and grow apart in order to find themselves as individuals. It was painful for both of them, but it was a mature and necessary thing to do. I think the problem with Twilight is that it wallows in romantic love, whereas a show like Buffy examines romantic love but recognizes that it has limits.

    As for Spike, his stalking was never portrayed in an even slightly romantic way. When it wasn’t being played for laughs, it came off as creepy. When Buffy did start a loveless relationship with him, the show took care to show the emotional toll it was taking on her, and portrayed her decision to end it as the right thing to do.

    In short, even when Buffy was involved in her vampiric trysts, she was far more proactive than Bella had probably ever even thought to be, and would never stand to be objectified in the way Bella allows Edward to objectify her. I don’t think the video suffers because of it.

    Nice site. Nice talk. Night!

  11. Victoria D said,

    January 6, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I believe Buffy and Angel’s history is the best about vampire’s stuff, Whedon says their love is immortal, breake the time hurdling, the difference hurdling. They are a couple who know will hurt, they know love hurts, but they stay together, they try breake the “prophecy” who said she need kill him or he kill her. A different love, this is what BUFFY AND ANGEL HAVE. What Meyer did isn’t this. And in the truth, I read a little bit of the book “Breaking Dawn” and I believe that Meyer’s inspiration for make Edward Cullen was a Whedon’s vampire, Angel (played by David Boreanaz). If you see, Edward has almost the same problems than Angel and how she discribes Edward’s body is more like Boreanaz, not Pattinson. I believe Meyer tried something in Buffy/Angel’s style, and for now worked, but the real Whedon’s fans notice similarity and we know as in a fight Buffy and Angel win with eyes closed easily.
    First of all, I really liked Twilight saga, but I saw the similarity and I think with myself: “Okay! It is a good history of love, a beautiful love. But what Buffy Summers (the slayer) and Angel (the hot vampire) have is an immortal love, forever just like ‘I will remember you!’, so forget Twilight, Buffy and Angel are better!!!”
    However, Twilight saga has an impact in people and I respect that, but don’t ask me to love and prefer Meyer’s. I don’t hate, I just prefer Whedon’s.

  12. Jessica Powers said,

    January 11, 2010 at 3:52 am

    I think some of the difference in seeing Buffy as a strong character and Bella as one blinded by unhealthy ideas of love is the in how the stories play out. Buffy does end her messed up relationships – Buffy learns and tries to learn more. She keeps growing as an individual – not despite her relationship failures or successes but because of them. Bella accepts and gets swallowed into her relationships and allows who she is with to define her. She reminded me of the women you used to see on Maury and Sally saying that they couldn’t go to the grocery store without their significant others freaking out in shows of emotional and psychological abuse.

    And too – let’s remember that mental understanding is different than experiential. My first boyfriend I stayed with for 4 years. It was hard as hell to get rid of him, it took the last 2 years to break up. A year into my marriage to someone else some years later, when BF1 was also with someone else and had a baby with her: BF1 slashed my car tires twice and keyed the car and wrote a very nasty message in the door with his keys. It wasn’t until I called the cops about the second tires/keying incident did anybody point out to me that it had been/was an abusive relationship. Not even the people in my family trained to counsel people in such situations! While I was upset about it all, I was most pissed at myself for not calling it what it was, and for those closest to me not doing so either. I could have called it for anyone else, but not myself.

    Now, having that in my past – would that make me, a non-fictional person, less of a strong woman today? No.

    So just because Buffy had some bad choices and things in her (fictional) life, it doesn’t actually equal her not being a strong role model. Nor do I think that it was written in a way that was to dull the watcher’s mind and not make you question the choices she was making. Chosen one or not, she was still growing up and made a lot of the mistakes people make in that process.

    Bella however is buying into the one true love and happily ever after b.s. – and so are the girls and women reading and loving the series. The only good thing I can see that Meyer’s series had going for it was the negotiations around sex that Bella and Edward had. I think that was an interesting concept and important to introduce to young women.

  13. Holly Martin said,

    June 16, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    i love David Boreanaz in the TV Series bones, he is really a great actor.*~”

  14. Cloberella said,

    July 11, 2010 at 4:01 am

    As much as I love Buffy (and dislike Twilight), both times in the show when she was stalked by a vampire, she eventually gave in and dated/slept with them. Buffy had a bit more backbone, but still displayed stereotypical female weaknesses at times… but what’s a vampire story without the forbidden creepy romance?

  15. Polypropylene said,

    December 12, 2010 at 11:52 am

    i love Bones and David Boreanaz, he is good looking and i can say that he is talented ‘–

  16. Buffy vs Edward (Twilight Remixed) said,

    December 13, 2010 at 3:49 am

    [...] reactions and debates on the remix: jezebel.com, pandagon.net, smartbitchestrashybooks.com, pixiepalace.com, whedonesque.com and this Twilight fan blog. I’m sure there are many more out there – [...]

  17. Buffy vs Edward: Twilight Remixed said,

    January 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    [...] reactions and debates on the remix: jezebel.com, pandagon.net, smartbitchestrashybooks.com, pixiepalace.com, whedonesque.com and this Twilight fan blog. I’m sure there are many more out there – [...]

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