Double Coded Feminist TV- Overlooked Contradictions within Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Date of Award


Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no embargo, no restriction)

Work Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MA)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

David Coon

Second Advisor

Anne Beaufort


Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a complex text with multiple levels of coding. I begin by demonstrating that BtVS enjoys favorable reviews from feminist and other scholars. My analysis of BtVS continues by considering a similar program from the same era that also features a female lead, Xena: Warrior Princess. XWP portrays powerful women who are other than Hollywood's ideal and is free of contradiction in this way. XWP establishes a baseline for my analysis of BtVS. I review arguments from key feminist scholars on the theory of Postfeminism that provide a lens through which to analyze the episodes. My episode analysis provides examples of how BtVS promotes consumption and materialism among women, and demonstrates how BtVS presents the need to work in a negative light. Finally, I provide commentary that ties together the episode analysis. Although BtVS is popular among feminist scholars for its positive portrayal of women, I conclude that it presents an empowerment reserved for only a select, specific minority of women.