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“Tough Enough”: Female Friendship and Heroism in Xena and Buffy

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Action Chicks

Abstract

Over the past three decades, female action heroes have risen to the surface of American television as well as other media and captured the attention of viewers and feminist scholars. Two shows that have garnered much attention are Xena: Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. These series and their heroines have offered new visions of heroism by inflecting the concept of toughness with the notion of flexibility. While traditional heroes of the past have been made tough via their individualism and their ability to confront obstacles by themselves, these women grow as heroes because of their female friends. Xena and her friend Gabrielle and Buffy and her friend Willow encourage each other to push the limits of what it means to be a hero, emphasizing the importance of flexibility. In particular, both television series stress that a woman can be “tough enough” to fight patriarchy when she learns to listen to other women’s perspectives on the world and when she values her emotional bonds with other females as a source of strength.

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Sherrie A. Inness

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© 2004 Sherrie A. Inness

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Ross, S. (2004). “Tough Enough”: Female Friendship and Heroism in Xena and Buffy. In: Inness, S.A. (eds) Action Chicks. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781403981240_10

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