My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness and the Nature of Misfortune

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I’ve had the pleasure  of reading My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, from here on referred to as MLEwL, not too long ago. Framed as a “report”, the story is an auto-biography chronicling a 20-ish college dropout who struggles to live her daily life of swinging from one part-time job to the next while dealing menagerie of mental health issues (from depression, self-ham to eating disorder) and trying to live up to the expectation of everyone around her, whether that’s her family or society at large. Part of what makes the manga compelling is the self-aware insight that the author provides and there’s a sense of honesty and earnestness to the writing which makes it feel very much real. The very same honesty which I strive to always have in my writing, both fictional and non-fictional.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Empowerment

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(Warning: Slight Spoiler)

Power can means a lot of thing and manifest itself in many different ways. Whether it’s physical prowess, wealth, or political influence. But one of the most important expression of power is the capability of controlling your path and taking control of your life. Not abiding through society restriction or genetical make-up. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a 1997 series created by Joss Whedon, centers itself toward this very theme. More specifically, the theme of female empowerment.

One of the expression of that theme is through the portrayal of Buffy as, for its time, one of the rare female main protagonist in a action-horror show. This is nothing new by modern standard, but the series goes in greater length than merely having female action protagonist in the spotlight.  What’s also important about Buffy is her determination to do things her way.

Throughout the show, again and again, Buffy violates the tradition or the norm of the Slayer in her battle against evil. Instead of living in a lifestyle disconnected from society, she opts to always be close to her friends and family. She refuses the guidance of the Watcher council whose policy she disagrees which resulted her independence from the council entirely, and later on, essentially makes the council works for her instead.

This all culminates in the final season of the show in which Buffy rejects the entire notion of the Slayer itself. The first instances is when she refuses to gain more power in exchange of her humanity by merging herself with a demon, something that was done to the first Slayer by a group of male shamans (a scathing commentary on the nature of patriarchy). The second is where she opts to activate the power of every potential Slayer in the world in an effort to defeat the series final villain.

But what’s most important however, is that Buffy’s own action isn’t necessarily deem “right” by the series. This is emphasized in the later seasons of the comic version in which Buffy’s action essentially change the world, and with it, its own set of consequences and repercussion which Buffy has to responsible for. Empowerment can means a freedom right for humans to take any choice or action, but they also need to be responsible for consequences that stem from that action. Power always comes with a price.

Regardless however, the idea of choosing your own path in life is something that’s always going to be relevant. Within society that’s so often rigid and demanding regarding what person should or shouldn’t be, the expression of individualism is something that cannot be expressed enough.

Side Note:

  • If you want my standard review, I really like the series. While they had different pet themes and writing style, Whedon’s writing strangely reminds me of Urobuchi’s, in the sense that they’re probably two writers that I know of who has mastery over basic storytelling fundamental and drama.
  • It took me quite a while to get around watching the series, even after recommendations and my love for The Avengers movie.
  • Favorite Character: Tara. I love her development from being shy socially awkward to being a caring guardian for the scoobies and the most emotionally stable of the group.