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Buffy - Rant about Spike vs Angel by airagorncharda Buffy - Rant about Spike vs Angel by airagorncharda
I'm not saying Buffy is at fault--I'm not a person who would ever blame the victim, and that scene in the show was adequately horrifying and realistic. She could have definitely done some things differently to help prevent this situation though. She put herself in a bad situation, and confused the hell out of someone who was already confused. Not her fault, but not entirely his either.

My main issue is with the Angel-adoring fans who hate Spike.

[EDIT: If I made this comic now, it would not look like this. There are some parts of this that I articulated poorly, in offensive ways. There's some blatant sexism in here, some casual ableism, and my wording makes it sound like I'm okay with rape culture, which I'm not. I didn't really understand rape culture at the time I wrote/drew this. I do now. I stand by my overall point, which is that the fandom is hypocritical about their assessment of Spike VS Angel, but I do not stand by all of my minor points. I definitely do not stand by all of my drawings. There's some distasteful shit in here, and I'm sorry. I feel that taking it down or editing it would be denying culpability, so I'm leaving it up. I did this, and parts of it are very wrong. I own up to that.]
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Opera-Babe18 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015
I think you have made an excellent argument! Very Good and very thorough. I personally LOVE Spike and Angel and I even have a horribly wrong place in my heart for Angelus..... but you're right about the Spike -hate in the fandom. 
alive-or-dead Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2015
By far, this is the BEST rant/explanation/lecture about this scene I've ever read. Hit the nail directly on the head.
mympwilson Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2015
Spike says to Buffy "I'm going to MAKE you feel it" while ripping Buffy clothes off as she fought him and begged him to stop and you really think he was confused? Spike even admitted that he knew what he was doing later. I love the Spike character - so this isn't Spike hate. And I'm ignoring the Angel stuff cause I do think Angel without a soul is evil and destructive. I would never defend him. But, to say that Spike was confused about what was he was doing is just plain wrong. He knew he was forcing her to do this, he just hoped that once he got started she would start to feel all that stuff he wanted her to feel. He left no room for the idea that she didn't feel the way he wanted her to, or for the idea that it's her choice how she acts on any feelings she may or may not have. And let's not forget that Buffy had spent several weeks actively, openly, and consistently trying to change the dynamic between her and Spike. She was trying to leave the violence and using behind them - and she TOLD him that. Spike knew she didn't want violent sex anymore BEFORE he even walked into the bathroom so to say that he was confused about what Buffy might want from him sexually is just plain wrong. He knew what she had been consistently telling him for weeks before and she stuck to that same message while in the bathroom. That he didn't want to hear or respect it is all on him and there is no confusion and no mixed messages at this time. He regrets what he was trying to do once he sees the consequences in Buffy's face but that is very typical of Spike - do something really creepy, scary, or hurtful to Buffy, regret it when it doesn't go according to plan, and then do something else that's awful a little bit later. Without a soul he just can't see how out of whack is own actions are until after he sees the evidence of Buffy's pain or anger. Given that, I do commend him for going and getting a soul. He saw a terrible pattern he was stuck in and did something to get himself out of it. The rape scene is indefensible on Spike's part and it can't be ignored just because we want to like a character. In fact, diminishing or trying to excuse the horror of the attempted rape is not just insulting to Buffy, but also to Spike (saying he was confused just makes him sound stupid) and all of the lengths he went to in his effort to overcome it and make it right. Oh and he did know she was injured because she was limping, he said himself she looked injured, and because he isn't an idiot. Selfishly caught up in his own emotions and agendas, yes. A complete idiot, no. Even during their violent times Spike was always very aware of when consent was being given, he may have tried to change her mind (and often did), but he knew when he really didn't have it. As for the Angel vs Spike debate - that's just pointless and I don't know why people obsess about it so much. With souls they are both good, but not perfect in different ways and without souls they are both destructive in different ways. Spike may have more capacity for love, but it's the love of psychopath - selfish and disregarding of the other person's needs. Buffy won't listen? Chain her up and threaten to kill her. Buffy won't return your affections? Stalk her, break into her house and steal from her. Want to look like the hero when her boyfriend is "cheating"? Spring it on her in the most painful way possible and then just wait to reap the rewards. When that doesn't work? Angrily blame her while beating the crap out of manikin made to look like her. If these things had been done by a real person we would be horrified but I keep seeing fans give Spike a pass because, what? He's good looking? He's a vampire and doesn't understand? That's no reason for Buffy to be treated like that. Because he's "in love" and so it's sympathetic and she somehow owes it to her to be in love with him? We don't owe it to people to return their feelings, we have a right to our own even if it disappoints the other person. And if Spike felt real love for Buffy he would have put her needs first, not his own. And yes, he does some good things - but generally out of selfish motives while he is still doing crappy things (stalking, stealing, trading in demonic weaponry that will kill hundreds of men, women, and children) and none of it is enough to anywhere near counteract the damage he has done over the years. Of course, as I said - I like Spike and to me acknowledging his evil and his difficiencies just shows how really great his redemption story is. His gradual changes from complete psychopath to realizing that that is not making him happy anymore, to recovering his soul (by choice - kudos!) and becoming a real hero is all the more dramatic and impacting if you don't soft pedal just how bad he starts out in the first place. That Spike is so evil and then is so determined to be redeemed is exactly why I love the character so much and a show that says that anyone can be forgiven and redeemed if they want it enough to do what really needs to be done to earn it.
ltgenehunt Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2014
Wow Hitler loved dogs.  Does that make him a good person even though he led the slaughter of millions?  As a person that watched every single ep of BTVS when it aired and continues to watch the reruns I take issue with anyone who has never watched the show and or has only watched a few eps particularly one that JUST saw "Seeing Red."   To defend a characters violent actions so vehemently makes me wonder what violent action(s) they justify in their own lives because only one that harbors such violence in their own minds would defend it to the hilt with a FICTIONAL character.
Full disclosure: I liked the Buffy/Spike dynamic at first.  Bad boy realizes he is in love with good girl tries several ploys to get her to notice him, when these fail he decides to see her as a human and act selflessly on her behalf even though her friends and father figure can't stand him.  Then finally Buffy, back from the dead and suffering from PTSD finally sleeps with Spike bringing more truth to her statement, "You had a better chance with me, when I was unconscious".  In a sense Buffy was indeed unconscious, sleepwalking through her life's endeavor as it were (OMWF).  However for anyone to say that Buffy somehow deserved to be almost raped because she treated Spike like shit and how dare she after his heroic deeds reeks of psychopathology.
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2014
1) I'm really not sure why you seem to think I haven't watched all the eps of Buffy (and Angel, and read most of the comics)? 

2) I NEVER said she deserved it. She DIDN'T deserve it. Victim blaming is reprehensible.

3) I'm not defending his violent actions. His violent actions are also reprehensible. 

4) as I said in my edited comment, this comic was made a while ago, and I know now that I didn't articulate myself well, and accidentally said things in a pretty offensive way. I get that and I apologize. 

What I'm trying to say is this: 

Spike should be held accountable and responsible for his actions just as much as anyone else in the show, but people in this show jump from good to evil and back to good all the time, and nobody ever gets blamed for their "evil deeds" once they're "good again" except Spike. Basically everyone said "Oh, you're good now? Okay, all's forgiven" to Xander after "the pack" and "once more with feeling", to Anya when she stopped being a vengeance demon (1,000+ years of torture, slaughter, murder, and probably plenty of orchestrated rapes, all forgotten because she... no longer had powers. She wasn't even good, she just didn't have the capabilities to do bad on that scale anymore), when Angelus turned back into Angel (despite everything he had done in just the few short months he'd been Angelus again, from murdering Miss Calendar to trying to destroy the entire world--and this isn't even mentioning who Angelus used to be, or what he'd done in the distant past, or the things that Liam and Angel himself did that the main cast would think were abhorrant if they knew), Willow (I know she had to work for it, but that was more to get it under control than for her friends to forgive her), even Buffy any of the times she's betrayed her friends under magical duress, and the one time Tara almost got them all killed. 

Anya's and Angel's histories, as well as arguably Willow's and Buffy's fuck-ups and violent incidents, are either on par with or go far beyond one incident that he almost died trying to make better in any possible way. That's my view at least. He should be held accountable for his actions within the parameters of accountability already displayed in the show. Faith tried to rape and murder Xander and if she hadn't been brained with a 2x4 by Angel she would have succeeded, and yet later in the same day they were all still talking about how they wanted to help her get better (except for Xander who was sitting apart from the group and not saying anything at all). So this isn't a new concept for this show, but it is a new way of handling it, and I feel that the show is being hypocritical with it's condemnation of Spike when it neither condemns Faith nor Angel for similar actions. 

Buffy has an ongoing sexual relationship with a man who she KNOWS has a sketchy (at best) grasp on the concept of consent, and in their relationship she is constantly saying "No" and "We are never having sex again" and "Stop it" and then SHE actively and enthusiastically participates in the sex that transpires... The message that she is giving is that "no" and "stop" don't actually mean "no" and "stop". When their sex life also often involves fighting, she is giving the message that fighting also doesn't mean "stop". Then when she says no and means it, he misunderstands and almost rapes her. It's more complex than people make it out to be, and it frustrates me when people paint it as though it's simple. Communication is paramount for healthy sexual relationships, and of course their lack of communication was both an indicator and a perpetuator of the unhealthy nature of their relationship. However, their relationship was never really addressed. 

I feel very strongly about sending the right messages to the audience with fiction. I think a lot of people could have learned a lot about HEALTHY relationships, by seeing this unhealthy relationship addressed more directly in a show like Buffy. 
Tsukushiiii Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014
I've been saying this same thing for many years now and people keep looking at me like I'm horrible, but they forget how many good things Spike did being SOULLESS. He used to take care of Dawn, help the gang and chat with Joyce, for god's sake!
Yet nobody thinks what a SOULLESS Angel (aka Angelus) would have done in his place. Would Buffy had let Angelus take care of Dawn or Joyce? Hell no!! "Angelus isn't more than Angel with a demon inside!!" Well, sweetheart, Angel is Angel the same way Spike is Spike when they have no soul, that doesn't change because you call one of them in a diferent way. Plus, Spike without soul has a love capacity that soulless Angel never had, I think that's brownie points for Captain Peroxide.
P.D.: right now you are my favourite person on the Universe. Just saying.
carrie-lou Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Thankyou!! Well said!!

Spike is one of the best characters to be ever created on the show! Dont get me wrong i love angel and Angelus BUT both are two separate entities and shouldnt be compared to Spike as they are unique characters separately with their own flaws, strengths and whatnot.

What I liked what Joss Whedon captured with Spike's character since its introduction not just personality wise...this Billy Idol type Vampire .....Before spike came along, there was a black and white view about who was good and was put out there very early on the show: Slayers/Humans Good (and ok some demons were good too) and demons/vampires are evil...but other than Angel who by then was cursed by a soul and was only capable of good deeds and redemption for a hundred years of evil shenanigans as Angelus.

What I liked about Spike, even early on, even in episodes like School Hard and Whats My Line P1 and P2, Becoming Part 1 and 2, Spike had very human emotions, true in a very twisted warped obsessive kind of way, but I think the poet side of him never went away and perhaps influenced him in his vampire life and he DID love and showed loyalty to Drusilla and later Buffy (with a soul or without) where Angelus was the complete opposite.

She could have definitely done some things differently to help prevent this situation though. She put herself in a bad situation, and confused the hell out of someone who was already confused. Not her fault, but not entirely his either. -Totally agree with you on this! It is a really REAL issue where domestic violence and abuse happens in romantic relationships its NEVER THAT simple!! Also that Buffy had detached herself emotionally and the fact that none of the Scooby Gang recognised this due to their own emotional detachments (except for Tara who stayed neutral with the whole Buffy and Spike thing which I liked, she tried to understand WHERE both Buffy and Spike were coming from) while the others when they found out reacted aggresively about it....
UncleFester73 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014
never really thought about it. at all. but i cant argue with your conclusion. have to say i always preferred spike to angel, even with his dodgy english accent
EljotLJ Featured By Owner May 24, 2014
hahaha finally someone who understands the real situation ^^
Ellygator Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree with you - the AR was the culmination of the whole messed-up relationship these two had in season 6, but it wasn't the shocker to me that many people made it out to be.

Nearly every encounter that season started with Buffy giving off some kind of "No" vibe and then giving in when Spike kept pushing - the encounter behind the Double-Meat Palace, the scene behind the tree in the front yard. It was almost as if she needed to pretend she wasn't wanting it in order to feel a little less disgusted with herself, and Spike obliged, in keeping with his offer to have her put it all on him when she was beating him up in "Dead Things". He was prepared to shoulder the moral ambiguity for her.

On the other hand, he didn't have much luck with his attempt at a "No" in "Gone", the only difference, the writers decided to play that for laughs, but I think if a guy says "No" it should mean as much as if a girl does. Finally we should remember that (exaggerated and unrealistic) physical violence was always a big part of their relationship, and that soulless Spike had a past where he thought that tying up an unfaithful or difficult girlfriend and torturing her until she loved him again was a perfectly reasonable approach. To top that Buffy had shown him plenty of times before that she was not interested in any kind of connection that was other than physical. She usually told him to shut up or walked away if he attempted to talk to her about what was going on or to get her to open up to him in any kind of way that wasn't connected with sex.

I think the only thing that's surprising about the scene is that in the moment where Spike realizes that Buffy's "No" this time really is a "No", he gets a look of absolute horror on his face and backs off. For all they had done to each other before, it needed a kick to the head for him for Buffy's message to sink in and I do not think that he actually had a conscious intention of raping her before he got that. When he does get it, though, he reacts in a manner that to me shows how far he's come even without a soul. He does no longer think ignoring Buffy's "No" like before until she loves him is a viable option, he does not try to touch her again, he gets the hell out of there and does whatever he can to ensure he will never, ever do this again - gets himself a soul.

So I always thought that the folks who felt outraged about the AR should also be as vocal about insisting the pair should have been seeing a psychiatrist after their first sex in "Smashed", because that was pretty twisted, Spike getting a restraining order against Buffy after "Dead Things", and acknowledging that Buffy was at least out of line in "Gone". If they are cavalier enough to excuse those scenarios because it was funny or hot or fictitious, then there is really no cause for taking particular offense at the AR. It was as unrealistic and as much in keeping with the characters and the place they were in as the rest of the Spuffy "relationship" in Season 6.

The reason I suspect that it was not received that way is the crazy genre-smashing that we found in BtVS. The AR was filmed and presented in the same raw intensity as "The Body" so everyone had a very visceral reaction to it, the dubcon scene in "Gone" was in keeping with other comedy-inspired episodes, and "Dead Things" was just another kick-the-Spike sequence he always bounces back from, whether it be a spot of Glory torture, a plastic stake to the heart or Buffy landing a church organ on him.
comlodge Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Lizard1Princess Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
And Spike gave her the fire back, how come no one remembers that.

The problem is Buffy met Angel when she was 16 and hormonal, and life and death situations weren't so easy for her, she was learning how to deal with everything, so there comes the handsome mysterious guy to the rescue, he never helped that much but he did something, so she just remembers the good part, without all the danger and the fighting and the rescuing, she would have got to know him better and realized that Angel with a soul is just dull and flat, because he has no personality, is like a trapped animal, can't show himself, when he doesn't have the soul he can be evil and has a personality, is more interesting, not much, but it is something. Also, he gets everything handed to him, all the help and all the chances he can ask for, and he always does the worst he can with it. On the other hand, Spike, with or without a soul, gets shut down, beaten, insulted, nobody ever gave him a chance until the seven season (when buffy starts to believe in him) and he does do the best he can with what he has, always manages to get up and be better. That is way, when comparing Angel to Spike, Spike is my hero and when of the best fictional characters I ever known. :) 
ChickInTheRedHat13 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014  Student Writer
maddmouse Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014
:icondesucraiplz: Thiiiiiiiiiiis.
Fenixjpb Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014
Great view,so agree with you
laimelady Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014
*\o/* ITA. Well put. But one teeny, tiny itty-bitty thing. While BtVS is a well written, heck, spectacularly scripted television show, it is well, not a bible (thank goodness), nor a DIY manual on relationships, or even a strictly personal Joss Whedon POV. It I S TV at its best and under budget as presentation can be!
Don't Fret the Logic ;-)
Kasloumor Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014
Just want to say that I enjoyed reading your essay and that I don't get the Spike hate either. Personally, I like both Angel and Spike, but Spike - I  have to say - is my favorite hands down. What a character!

As for the hatred towards Spike, which some, but by no means, not most of the Buffy fandom has, I've come to the conclusion, that Buffy fans who find this mistreatment of the two main vampire characters fair, are simply not understanding the series, nor its premises. I don't mean this in an insulting way, although I can understand why this opinion would insult the Spike haters. Nevertheless, I 'm thinking that just like everybody doesn't get math, nor will everybody get the characters and their development in one of the world's best written TV-shows. 

Gosh, I know I sound so arrogant. You expressed how I feel much better!
nanaleonti Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2014   Digital Artist
This this this this!
Reading-Wizard Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
First off, great art work,writing and thought processes behind the art work=amazing.  I lost the specific comment but you said something along the lines of a theory that being turned takes a persons' personality and amps it up.  You're right.  There's a line in Doplegangland where Angel implies exactly that but he realizes that 1)he'll be making himself look bad and 2)he'd be basically outing Willow before she even knows she gay.    While I think he's being a little selfish, even vampires have standards.  But to be fair, I knew Willow ended up with Tara before I saw that episode so it might be case of hindsight being 20-20 as to Willow's future partner.
Willow:It's horrible! That's me as a vampire? I'm so evil and... skanky. And I think I'm kinda gay.
Buffy:Willow, just remember, a vampire's personality has nothing to do with the person it was.
Angel:Well, actually... That's a good point.

Second, I agree with you on how Angelus and soulless Spike's actions showed their true intentions.  Angelus was just plain mean and wanted to destroy people's:lives and more so their minds (case in point-Dru). While Spike went along with plans to conform to the group until the group wanted to do something really stupid like destroy the world or just did bad stuff when he was bored.  

I actually watched the shows in weird order: Angel years ago and Buffy last month.  I also re-watched Angel this last month too.  So I apologize if I come on too strong, it's just that all these thoughts are still fresh in my mind.
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014
Thanks for the comment! Definitely not coming on too strong, I love discussing shows I'm passionate about. I definitely agree that doplegangland is a perfect example of showing that vampires are in fact still the people they were before being turned. 
Neinka Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014
I mostly agree with it. But what about William's mum? She looked like sweet lady and not that vicious, gross vampire. Well we only saw her in one episode but still...
I think that it's just different for every vampire how much human personality (and humanity) is left in them. 
emilyAinscough94 Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I totally agree, although I have always been a Spike lover, so I'm biased.
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014
Crim-sin Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2014  Student General Artist
OMG yes!  Thank you for putting this down.  Ugh that has been bothering me for years.  I have always been more interested in Spike than Angel and felt that he was a much more interesting character.  Very interesting points!  Thanks for sharing!
Arsonyc Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2013
Though I do not agree with several points you made, I think that this was a well thought out piece. As a true Buffy fan (I do own all seven seasons- some twice- and have watched them more times than you can count) I love that someone else does understand that this Spike vs Angel purely because Angel is perfect and Spike is evil is stupid. When I do my own little Spike vs Angel things, I include both of their pre and post soul selves. This was a very smart piece, though your reasoning for Spike running off to get a soul is a little off, but that is okay. Not many people who haven't watched it FIFTY MILLION times understand that he did not go get a soul because he was terrified of being awful to Buffy. But that's not the point. I could have a Buffy talk all day.
ANYWAY, I appreciate this quite a bit.
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2013
Thanks for your comment. I have also watched buffy many times, and I think the reasoning behind his actions is moderately subjective. I'm not saying that this scene was the ONLY reason he went to get his soul, just that it was the catalyst. I'm very curious now about your views, though. Why do you think he went after his soul?
Arsonyc Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013
Actually, I think that his reasoning was an amalgam of different ideas. I think that with no having a soul, being evil, and still being in love with Buffy in general was very confusing to him. I don't really blame him for that. When he went after his soul, I think that he went after it to not be so confused anymore. He went because he was tired of being a monster. He went back because he wanted to hurt Buffy. Hurt Buffy? How does getting a soul hurt Buffy? That's another vampire with a soul that she has feelings for. She can't treat him like dirt anymore because he no longer is evil. He did it for himself and he did it for her. I think that yes, he would want a soul because he wants to be good for her, but I do not think he was consciously aware of that decision if that makes any sort of sense.
sweetindigoblues Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2013
So here's the deal.  Angel is the "bad boy" that girls generally go for.  They can screw the girl over, and the girl will go back for more.  Spike is the "good guy" that girls generally reject.  He's loyal and will move heaven and earth for someone he cares about.  However, Buffy uses him for the most part, and when she says she loves him, she has to lie.  He knows it and STILL loves her!  The fan base of Angel (which I am apart of) casts him in too good of a light.  Angel may have been Buffy's ultimate love, but Spike was the one who was good for her.  He was the one who actually saw who Buffy was and loved her despite herself.

The writing crew of Buffy did a wonderful job with these characters.
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2013
I agree with the last half of what you said. I don't think that Angel is a bad guy when he's Angel, though. He isn't perfect, and he should be held accountable for certain things that he wasn't, but I don't think he's the "bad boy" trope. Similarly I'm not trying to say that Spike is perfect either. He has some serious flaws. I just find his soulless behavior to vastly outshine Angelus's behavior, and get frustrated when people compare them unfairly. 

I also don't actually know any girls who "go for" the bad boys and reject good guys. I'm sure it happens in some rare instances, but usually the people who posture that scenario as being frequent are the "good guys" who feel like they've been friendzoned. Which means that they're not actually such good guys, and there's a reason they got rejected. 

So I think mostly I agree with your message, but I'm hesitant about your wording.
The-Siriana Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is single handedly the most prevalent, important and accurate fan comment about this show. Thank you so much for concisely (and with pictures!) expressing the feels of many other fans!
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2013
I look at this comment when I'm sad and it makes me feel better.
WicktorWicktor Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013
Wow. You are a really cool person.
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013
Aaaaah thank you! You mean because you agree with the comic? Or because of how I articulated myself?
charmsheart0559 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013   Writer
this is so well thought out and explained- I love this and must agree entirely.
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013
Thank you!
Chris96hellboy Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013
Personally, I'm a spike/buffy and angel/faith fan. spike and buffy are just so fun together. Angel has more in common with faith than buffy. both were very horrible people and both are trying to atone, and if one should go bad, they trust the other to stop them or kill them if they have to.
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013
That's an interesting take on it. I don't ship either of those pairings, but it's cool to know your reasoning for your ships. :)
m00npie Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2013
Yes. This Totally. You have taken my feels and put them into comic form, and for this I love you.
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013
Thank you! I'm glad!
spikesjojo Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2013
Oh yeah!! And let's not forget the far more serious rape attempt when Xander tried to rape Buffy and she had to fight to get away. He claimed not to remember - and when Giles pointed out that he really did remember, they both decided not to mention it. So Giles let Buffy stay friends with someone who had tried to rape her under the pretense that it was totally because of a spell!
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2013
To be fair, it WAS because of circumstances outside of his character. He was attracted to her, and it exacerbated that attraction into violence that he would never have otherwise stooped to. My point is that Spike's situation is similar to that. Without his soul, he cannot be held to the same standards as those with a soul, and yet the people in the show, and the audience relentlessly hold him to those standards. Comparing him to others who lack souls, he is the least aggressive by far.
fox-fyre Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013
thank you so much for creating this. i've had so many headaches from trying to explain this to my buffy friends.
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2013
I'm glad you appreciate it!
herbertsgirl Featured By Owner May 28, 2013
I can't really say anything here, you have said it all. I have always been a spike fan but I hated this scene for a very long time. I'm not saying that I condone the almost rape that happens in this scene (because as you said he wasn't trying to rape her even though if he did have sex with her it would be rape because she was not willing) but you have made me see this scene in a different light and have me appreciating the scene so much more. I absolutely adore this picture/rant and it made me smile and feel good about liking Spike. So thank you :)
Maria2k12 Featured By Owner May 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
OH MY GOD you are so right i am a total Spike fan but i do love Angel and how you made the argument is fantastic when you said about how even when angel loses his soul and angelus is released he is the definition of evil but most of the series spike is soulless and he might be evil but he still has some emotions. a vampire can still express even if they are alittle twisted i love you forever _ ;)
jeffnitro6 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2013
So, because she put herself in a bad situation and sent a guy the wrong message...that justifies Spike trying to rape her?


I'll quote President Obama on this: "Let me make a simple proposition. Rape is rape. It is a crime."

Soul, no soul, what Spike did was unforgivable. And frankly, her letting him back into her life afterwards in Season 7 was kind of unrealistic. Friendship and love is built on trust, and nearly raping someone is the ultimate sign that "Okay, maybe this isn't someone I should trust anymore."
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2013
I'm not at all saying that it justifies his actions. I'm saying that 1) he wasn't TRYING to rape her (not that it wouldn't have been rape, just that he misinterpreted the situation which makes him less responsible, though STILL responsible), and 2) what Angelus did was worse than what Spike did, yet Spike was mistrusted after he regained his soul while Angel wasn't.

I completely agree that rape is unforgivable. I completely agree that rape is a crime because it's horrible, and that there is no justification for it. I think that Spike himself would agree with you.

I absolutely think that Spike should be held accountable and responsible for his actions just as much as anyone else in the show is. But that's the problem. People in this show jump from good to evil and back to good all the time, and nobody ever gets blamed for their "evil deeds" once they're "good again" except Spike. If he had stayed soulless, and hadn't done anything about his rape attempt except grovel, that wouldn't have ever been enough and I could completely understand everyone being disgusted by him.

The fact is, though, that most people went "Oh, you're good now? Okay, all's forgiven" to Xander when he was no longer the hyena and after the musical episode, to Anya when she stopped being a vengeance demon (1,000+ years of torture, slaughter, murder, and probably plenty of orchestrated rapes, all forgotten because she... no longer had powers. She wasn't even good, she just didn't have the capabilities to do bad on that scale anymore), when Angelus turned back into Angel (despite everything he had done in just the few short months he'd been Angelus again, from murdering Miss Calendar to trying to destroy the entire world--and this isn't even mentioning who Angelus used to be, or what he'd done in the distant past, or the things that Liam and Angel himself did that the main cast would think were abhorrant if they knew), Willow (I know she had to work for it, but that was more to get it under control than for her friends to forgive her), even Buffy any of the times she's betrayed her friends under magical duress, the one time Tara almost got them all killed.

Plenty of those things are either on par with or go far beyond a confused attempted rape that he stopped doing before he really started and then almost died trying to make better in any possible way. That's my view at least. I'm not saying that what he did wasn't horrible or that he shouldn't be held accountable for it within the parameters of accountability already displayed in the show. Faith tried to rape and murder Xander and if she hadn't been brained with a 2x4 by Angel she would have succeeded, and yet later in the same day they were all still talking about how they wanted to help her get better (except for Xander who was sitting apart from the group and not saying anything at all). So this isn't a new concept for this show, but it is a new way of handling it, and I feel that the show is being hypocritical with it's condemnation of Spike.

About the crappy little sketches of Buffy and Spike's relationship... I know they're overboard. It's supposed to be exaggerated, and I know that that last one is pushing it. I wasn't intending to offend anyone, because it wasn't meant to be taken very seriously. Still, it illustrates a sliver of my view of her. My point (that I was trying, and I guess in some instances failing to make) was this: when you have an ongoing sexual relationship with a man who you KNOW has a sketchy (at best) grasp on the concept of consent, and in your relationship you are constantly saying "No" and "We are never having sex again" and "Stop it" and then YOU actually actively and enthusiastically participate in the sex that transpires... The message that you are giving is that "no" and "stop" don't mean anything. When that sex also often involves fighting, you are giving the message that fighting also doesn't mean "stop". These are all messages Buffy gave to Spike, who was already struggling with what was and wasn't okay, and who no longer had his chip warning him about going to far. There's a point at which I can see how Spike would have misinterpreted the situation to such an extent that I have a hard time seeing how Buffy didn't.

This is such a hard conversation to have, because I NEVER think that the victim is to blame. I NEVER believe in that crap about somebody "asking for it" and I can't stand the implication of anything like that. I am NOT saying that Buffy should have seen it coming, I'm not saying that Spike isn't responsible for his own actions, and I'm not saying that it wasn't about to be rape. What I am saying is that I think EVERYONE should be held accountable for their actions. Buffy's actions placed her in a bad situation. If it weren't for a fundamental flaw in Spike (soulless, and less capable of understanding consent) the bad situation she put herself in wouldn't have amounted to anything. So I'm not blaming her, but I also don't feel like she is in a position where she can 100% put the blame on Spike, which is what I felt happened.

My main issue that I think got channeled into the perhaps distasteful depiction of her yelling "victim"... is that it was never adressed that she put herself into a bad situation. I feel very strongly about fiction being treated with the respect of reality (you treat characters like people and they will be better, more interesting characters for it; treat your fantasy world like a real one and it will make a lot more sense and you'll have fewer loopholes) but I also feel very strongly about sending the right messages to your audience with your fiction. I think a lot of people could have learned a lot about HEALTHY relationships, and how NOT to put yourself in a dangerous position, by seeing that adressed in a show like Buffy. I was disappointed that it wasn't adressed more directly, and that people had to either infer it, or just take Buffy's and Xander's and Dawn's and SPIKE'S word for it that Buffy was 100% not to blame at all, and Spike was evil, the end.

In a situation like this, where Spike's intention wasn't to hurt her, I actually disagree with you about it being unbelievable that she allowed him back into her life. He went and got a soul because of it. He actively sought it out, and he was 100% willing to deal with the guilt and the pain and the consequences that it placed in him because he wanted to change and be the type of man who would never misunderstand something like that again. I've seen people forgive accidental violations of trust and safety for much less. It's not unrealistic for someone to want to move forward and forget, especially if situations have changed and the danger is gone, and ESPECIALLY in situations that can be equated to wartime. Necessity is a strong motivator. Buffy felt like they needed Spike, and because of that, she pushed her issues out of her mind and tried to move on.

The established parameters of accountability within this show would normally allow her to move on fairly quickly once Spike regained his soul, and my issue is that she never truly did move on from her trauma with Spike, whereas she immediately moved on from her traumas with Angelus once he was Angel again. It's the hypocrisy that I don't like, as well as the missed opportunity for exploration of an important message about relationships and safety.
jeffnitro6 Featured By Owner May 2, 2013
"he wasn't TRYING to rape her"

Yes. He was.

Aside from the context of the scene, where he was clawing and tearing at her robe, in season 7, he admitted it himself that he tried to rape her. Those facts are irrefutable, no matter how much Spike fans may want to cover their ears over it (and I've seen enough arguments from them to know that they do.)

"People in this show jump from good to evil and back to good all the time, and nobody ever gets blamed for their "evil deeds" once they're "good again" except Spike."

The idea behind those themes is about testing the bonds of love between people, be it lovers or close friends or family. THAT'S why it's different in those instances. It's about the bonds between people being stretched to the brink, and sometimes beyond, and seeing how strong those bonds are. If friendship can overcome anger, if love can overcome hate.

Spike was never accepted as a part of the Scooby gang, and with good reason. For the better part of two years, he tried to kill them all. Then he was a reluctant ally, who wouldn't hesitate to stab them in the back and did on occasion (ie siding with Adam). Then he only played nice because he was trying to impress Buffy. And afterwards, it got into a gray area in Season 7. He pays the price because he didn't fit into that dynamic. Angel, for all of his faults, was able to fit in with the Scoobies because they understood that as Angel, he's an okay guy (Xander's words, Season 4). Spike took a VERY long time before he could be truly seen as an okay guy, even in Buffy's eyes. Hell, she didn't think he was an okay guy when she was banging hips with him in Season 6.

The issue of him getting a soul really hasn't been a great selling point for me. I really don't think he knew what getting a soul entailed. Spike probably figured that Buffy loved Angel only because he had a soul, and if Angel could take it, so could he. It wasn't a matter of him wanting to change, it was a matter of him being so desperate for Buffy's acceptance that he was willing to do something that he didn't fully comprehend the consequences of. It's one thing to know that fire can hurt you, but it's another thing entirely to know what it feels like when it sears your skin. Spike had no idea of how radically it would alter him, and how painfully; and if he did, I'd see him having some second thoughts.

On the subject of Buffy able to move on from the Angelus incident with Angel, she had the understanding that Angel and Angelus are two separate beings. A point that has been illustrated repeatedly in the Buffyverse. Yes, what Angelus did was terrible, but it took two to tango, and Angel was not responsible. He didn't know about the curse; no one did. Not to mention, she felt responsible for what happened to Angel in that time; in giving in to a moment of passion, she (unwittingly) hurt the person she cared for most, and had to hurt him even WORSE when she sent him to hell. There isn't anything hypocritical about that; love is love, it compels you to forgive and love. Since Buffy didn't love Spike, I could see how it's harder to forgive when your tentative trust is broken in a vile, horrible way.
airagorncharda Featured By Owner May 3, 2013
You make very good points, and you're the first person who's been able to explain to me why Spike is held to such a higher standard than anyone else. Thank you for taking the time to respond and give me your two cents; I really love discussions like this.

I disagree with you on a few points though.

Anya was forgiven for what she had done, despite them not knowing her. There were a handful of monster-of-the-week characters who were just arbitrarily forgiven for the shit they caused, many of whom ended up showing up later and continuing to do evil. I'm not saying you're wrong about the Scoobie's reasoning for why they don't trust Spike, and are harsher critics of him; I'm saying that they are being biased in doing so. Objectively they've forgiven people who have done much worse than Spike for much longer than Spike (mostly right now I'm talking about Anya), and who they never knew until after that person was a monster-of-the-week. It's the fact that Spike's actions had been in their faces for a while that convinced them he wasn't worth it.

Personally, I disagree that Spike didn't want to change. I know that he didn't understand 100% what getting a soul would be like, but where you seem to think he only comprehended about 10% of it, my bet is on something closer to 50-75%. He watched Angelus become Angel, and that wasn't an overnight process. Angelus received his soul and then tried to stay with Darla and continue being the vampire he'd been for so long, but he couldn't. There was a period of time where souled Angel was pretending to be soulless Angelus, and living with Darla, Druscilla, and Spike. He watched that, and he saw it fail, and he's seen the back and forth recently, and he's fought with Angel over it, and he's listened to Angelus about it. He's aware of how drastic a change it would be. I fundamentally think that that's what he wanted. He saw himself as being horrific for having almost hurt Buffy that way, and he hated the fact that he was the kind of person who could have done that to someone he loves, and he wanted to not be that person anymore. He wanted Buffy to love him, and I'm sure you're right that he thought maybe she could love him if he were more like Angel, but he also just wanted to be a better person.

I know we're probably not going to agree about that one; I get that that one is personal views and speculation, so I'm just stating that that's how I see it.

Finally, and the biggest one for me, Spike's intentions with regards to the almost-rape.

Buffy and Spike's entire ongoing sexual relationship was based in violence and false negatives. Spike has a sketchy (at best) grasp on the concept of consent, and Buffy knows that. She's known it since before they started having sex. The entire situation was based on the foundation that if Buffy wanted him to stop, she'd physically stop him. Her words lost any form of weight because she repeatedly contradicted her words with her actions, saying "no" "never" "ew" "you disgust me" "you're beneath me" and then forcefully and enthusiastically fucking him against a wall so hard the building fell down around them, with heavy implications that they continued fucking throughout the night. Then she says "We are never having sex again" and "Stop it" and "it was a mistake" "it wasn't good" "I hate you" etc. and then has sex with him in a public place, and then continues having sex with him all over the place, every single time saying "no" "stop" "I hate you" "don't touch me" and then enthusiastically participating in rough sex, much of which involved ripping each other's clothes off and literally fighting.

We were shown that their version of consensually rolling around in bed involved scratching and biting and hitting and fighting and dominance play. The message that she gave him is that "no" and "stop" don't mean anything, and neither does fighting, or yelling, or hitting, or ripping at clothes. None of those things imply rape to Spike, because all of those things have been consensual in the past. Every single one SHOULD be a red flag, but NONE of them are to him because of past experiences, and the fundamental flaw within him that is his lack of a soul.

Spike was already struggling with what was and wasn't okay, because up until this point he'd settled somewhat comfortably into the position that his chip would stop him from being bad. His chip showed him the line that he couldn't cross with the scoobies, which he-- as a soulless vampire-- couldn't deduce for himself. In their first sexual encounter, she proved that she's stronger than he is, and that if she wanted to stop him she could, which says to him that he doesn't NEED his chip telling him where the lines are with Buffy, because Buffy herself will enforce those lines.

It's obvious from his dialogue in that scene that this arrangement isn't actually sitting as well with him as he pretends that it is. He's saying, essentially, "every time we do this, you hate me until we're actually having sex, and then you act like you love me--" (remember that his ONLY experience of romantic love has been with Druscilla, and their sex life was not exactly normal. Spike's had sex with other people, but his experience of LOVE came from Druscilla) "--so can we just skip the hating-me part right now, because I really need you to love me right now."

I get that he was out of his mind at the moment. I get 100% that if he'd gone through with it it would have been rape. But in his mind, she wasn't unwilling, she was just doing the same song and dance that she always did, and he was trying to skip the foreplay (which he only really ever did for her sake, and which always hurt him) for once. Let me be clear that I'm not romanticizing what happened. It makes me kind of nauseous to think about, because it's terrifying. To me it's actually MORE frightening because it wasn't straightforward. Their warped relationship warped his comprehension of that situation.

As for him admitting it later, 1) he was admitting to and owning up to what had almost happened. 2) he was in full on guilt mode, and in that mindset everything you've ever indirectly caused becomes your direct fault. 3) the fact that Buffy blamed him meant that he blamed himself. He took her blame and her hate and her disgust and he internalized it. This is a thing that happens. I know a guy, who is an all around good guy, who got into a sexual situation that seemed completely consensual in the moment, and then afterward he was informed that the girl he was with stopped being comfortable with it about half way through, but didn't tell him. It wasn't by any means rape, but it wasn't a great experience for her, and he didn't know that until afterward, so he hadn't had the opportunity to make it okay for her. She had some previous trauma that made it hard for her to articulate her needs, which is also something he didn't know about until afterward. All around, this wasn't a case where anyone was to blame, it just sucks that it happened. He, however, blamed himself greatly and couldn't bring himself to have sex with ANYONE again for around five years, because he internalized the blame. If someone asked him about it, he would describe it like he'd been at fault, implying heavily that he'd assaulted her, which is not what happened. I can't take Spike's "confession" as law, because he's not a reliable source at that point, and because there is a high likelihood that he would have internalized the blame for that incident, especially considering his guilt-ridden state.

I'm not putting the blame on Buffy, but I also don't find myself capable of-- after looking at all the evidence-- saying that Spike knew it was rape and was doing it anyway.

I am interested in your views about this, and it's fine if you disagree, but on the subject of "was he intending to rape her?" unless Joss Whedon and James Marsters both say "Yes, Spike was doing what he was going with the full knowledge that he was about to rape her" you probably aren't going to be able to convince me to agree.
SordidCorvoid Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is beautiful.

You have condensed my thoughts on the whole S6 Spike/Buffy arc perfectly; Buffy's own (understandable) prejudices aside, the fan reaction to Seeing Red was, I feel, founded out of shock and denial. Rape is a bit of a taboo topic for any series, even in fanfiction - TV tropes will tell you that much - but what irritates me the most is the manner in which some fans simply refuse to accept the bathroom scene as canon.

I've watched the series several times and I keep going back to that scene. Why? Because I think you hit the nail on the head. When Buffy initiated a sexual relationship with Spike, it was a violent, destructive one (literally). She established a ritual of coercion and secrecy that Spike quickly picked up on - he referred to it as a "tune" in As You Were, that he had "the sheet music" to, which is why he pursued her even after she broke things off. To his mind, she did have feelings for him and did want to be with him; the only thing holding her back was her own shame and vehement denial of this fact (hence why he was telling her to "let go").

While I do think he had intentions to coax more out of Buffy than just the "talk" he claimed they needed (colour me paranoid, but no one approaches another person and closes a door behind them, in an otherwise empty house, just to talk) I don't believe for one second that he intended to rape her. He anticipated the fight as foreplay, but always expected a willing lover in the end - one who would match his passion and compete with him for control.

They both badly misread each other in that scene, even from the beginning.

Certainly Spike mistook her rejection for the first steps of their ritual (her resistence and apparent disinterest) and Buffy mistook Spike's desperation to "make [her] feel it" as a declaration of assault. I don't blame her at all for panicking; given their history as enemies, her unique genetic bypass of the chip's safety assurance and her weakened state, I think it finally registered with her how little there was to stop him from overpowering her. Hypothetically you could say that about most people in your life - it's all down to trust - but at that point she'd just had what tentative trust she had in him shattered from discovering his affair with Ahnya. She'd ceased to view him as a person and regressed to her What Measure Is a Non-Human prejudice upon seeing him enter the room.

That little glance upwards Spike made as he muttered "you should have let 'em kill me"? That glance said it all. He came over, Dawn's words about hurting Buffy fresh in his mind, to search for something - anything - to signal that Buffy cared about him. Because her caring about him would render her break-up argument about "using" him null and void, and they could live consensually ever after. The way he pounced on her admittance to having feelings for him "because you love me" is also telling. It was only then that he began to close the distance...

/end rant
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