Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Bad Girl

There is this idea that most girls prefer a bad boy.  This seems to be supported by literature where so many of the heroes in paranormal romances and romances in general seem to fit the (rather loose) definition of a bad boy.  Personally, I like all kinds of heroes, but if I’m honest, I do have a preference for the more morally grey heroes (in stories, not in real life), but it’s not that they are more sexy or appealing than the more upright heroes, but that they tend to be more complex and bring more conflict to the story.  I think I would be just as happy with a good boy and a bad girl combo, but I just don’t see those very often (maybe I’m just reading the wrong books).

I’ve been re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (the series) on Netflix recently, and I’ve decided that I prefer Faith to Buffy.  Faith is the far more interesting character.  I have to admit that I’m a real sucker for the redemption story arc, and Faith has a great one.   Her whole character arc is deconstructed here which is a really fascinating read. 

So really quick cause I got to go to bed.  Five reasons why Faith is awesome.

 1. Faith has all those characteristics that are usually given to male characters.  She is cocky, rebellious, charismatic, unrestrained, promiscuous, and care-free.  All those characteristics that are typically seen the bad boy love interest.   She wears them well, and it is refreshing to see that girls can be and in real life sometimes are this way too.

 2.  But underneath it all there is an undeniable vulnerability.  Every character needs to have weaknesses, and Faith has a lot of them.  Despite her charismatic personality, she has a hard time really connecting with people.  She doesn’t have strong ties to family or friends like Buffy did and this causes her to be very jealous of Buffy which develops into an inferiority complex.  The fact that Buffy’s gang never takes to her along with the brutal murder of her watcher that she couldn’t stop and Gwendolyn Post using her all contributes to her downward spiral.  What turns Faith to the wrong side is feeling as if she had no one to count on when things get really bad.

 3.  Even when she’s bad, she’s awesome.  Next to evil Angel, Faith is my favorite Buffy villain.  She’s tough and smart and hits Buffy where it really hurts (emotionally).  But mostly I liked her relationship with the Mayor.  He gave her what she needed most.  Someone that believed in her, who she could count on.  That made her betrayal real.  She got from him what she wasn’t getting from Buffy and her friends.  The father/daughter relationship between them was well-developed and humanized both of them, adding depths to their characters which is always good.

 4.  She does it all alone.  Faith’s redemption takes place on Angel, but it starts on Buffy when Faith and Buffy swap bodies.  During the swap, Faith experiences Buffy’s humanity, and takes the first step to redemption, feeling grief for the murderers she committed.  She can’t live with the guilt, so she starts up a fight with Angel to get him to kill her, but he doesn’t.  Angel tries to help her.  He’s the only one who never gave up on her.  But he doesn’t love her.  He empathizes with her and relates to her, but he doesn't really love her.  She isn’t redeemed by love like Willow was, and she isn't surrounded by support as she goes towards her redemption.  She chooses that path on her own for herself and no one else, and once again, she is all alone with no one to count on, but this time she accepts it and stays on the right path.  All by herself.

 5.  She’s five by five.  I have no idea what this means, but I think it is one of the most awesome catch phrases ever.

So those are the reasons I love Faith.  I would have loved to see her become the big hero and save the world not at Buffy’s side but on her own and have a real love interest story line.  I think Buffy should have stayed dead after season five, which really was a great death, and a newly reformed Faith could’ve stepped in as the slayer in another spin off series.  It had to have been better than season 6 and 7 which really didn’t have the caliber of the earlier seasons (especially 2 and 3 which were amazing). 

I think that bad girls have a lot to offer as protagonists, but most of the time, girls are placed in the moral role while the male characters have more freedom to be morally ambiguous.   Even though the character is basically a killer, Buffy isn’t allowed to stray far from what is morally acceptable.  But Faith is, and that is what makes her more interesting to me. 

So tell me, who are your favorite bad girls?



  1. My favorite "bad girl" is Jane Austen's Emma. I know, at first glance she doesn't seem that bad because Austen makes the reader like Emma. But really, Emma's selfish, arrogant, and plays with people's lives as if they're her toys. And then...Emma begins to she herself as she really is and undergoes a tremendous transformation. It's one of my favorite redemption stories. (And, okay, I love Mr. Knightley too.)

    1. I never thought of Emma as a bad girl either, but you are right, she does have some of those bad girl traits. She's definitely not the typical kind and gentle, selfless herione. And Mr. Knightly is a very awesome good boy. :)

  2. Replies
    1. I've never read Vanity Fair, but I do LOVE Scarlet. She may be the best bad girl herione ever.

  3. I am drawing a complete blank! (Although I do love Emma and Scarlett O'Hara!) You know what this means...I'm going to have to write my own. Faith scared the heeby-jeebys out of me. People walking the line between good and bad are the creepiest of all.

    1. That was my thought too. I need to write an awesome bad girl, but I think my favorite characters are the ones who walk the line between good and bad. I like stories that explore the dark side of human nature.


Got an opinion? Use it! Remember... be silly, be honest, and be nice/proofread.