The Cipher in the Middle

The show named after Buffy cares so much more about Xander’s feelings about her not wanting to date him than about her own feelings at having one of her best friends mess with her head and guilt her and show he thinks of her differently than she’d like.

It makes it hard to identify your own emotions — to even understand your own feelings & self — when so often looking in the mirror of pop culture shows the feelings of everyone around you… and leaves you invisible, a metaphorical vampire who doesn’t cast emotional reflections.

It’s no wonder that women and their emotions are so often seen as ciphers when pop culture refuses to portray them, instead spending screen time on the men who covet them as objects.

We know how every man around Buffy feels about her. She stands in the middle. Stoic. A cipher.

The men constantly tell Buffy & the audience what they think she’s feeling, defining her emotions, her very interiority through their guesses.

There’s a person in the middle, but we can hardly see her through the complicated garments of interpretation the men drape over her.

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