I am a better man because you gave us all a terrific example of how to live our lives. You were a loyal friend and devoted to your family, both the one you had by blood and the one you chose simply because the bond felt like family. You weren't just loyal, you were also brave. As a teenager, you were asked to stare down and to fight back demons the rest of us were only experiencing metaphorically. You sacrificed your own happiness, your own stability, and your own life to save the world. You showed us how to live and also how to die.
But, more importantly, I am a better man, Buffy, because you changed how I view women. To be sure, I was never misogynistic. I always felt that women were equal to men, that women should have the same opportunities and receive equal pay for equal work. But, I grew up in a small town in the Midwest, and I feel like that experience had instilled in me a 1950s sense of gender roles. Buffy Summers, you demolished those preconceptions for me. You were very much the result of your grandmothers, Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley. You did not need to be saved by a man. Frequently, you had to save the day for the men in your life, especially the ones wearing tweed. For me, you subverted the typical male/female gender roles under which I’d been raised and showed me that women can do literally anything men can do. You blazed a trail that many female heroes have followed – they are the norm now. They are just accepted.
It’s interesting that as I’m writing this letter I just saw a CNN Breaking News update saying the US military is ending its policy of excluding women from combat duty. If seeing Morgan Freeman or Dennis Haysbert as African American presidents paved the way for President Obama’s election, I can’t help but think seeing a warrior like you in action helped us to accept strong women fighting alongside their male counterparts as normal. Not only did you save the world a lot, you also changed it a lot. And, for the better. And, for that, I am very grateful.
As Faith might say, Happy Valentine’s Day, B.
A Better Man