More than 30 students, academics and residents attended a five-hour "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" symposium Saturday at the State University College at Oneonta.
The purpose of the symposium, "Get to the Point: Issues at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer," was to explore the popular television show's cultural impact on gender issues, specifically how the lead character, Buffy Summers, has become a role model for women. Additional topics discussed were racism and sexism.
"It's entertaining and interesting to hear the different points of view," said Zac Manning, a SUNY Oneonta senior who is studying computer art and is a member of the philosophy club. "It's also nice to see what they do with special effects."
The event was presented by Professor Bambi Lobdell of SUNY Oneonta's English and Women's Studies departments and Assistant English Professor Amie Doughty.
"The symposium went very well," Lobdell said. "We had some wonderful discussions. After Dr. Tredennick presented one episode, she facilitated a very lively discussion on presentations of gender that reinforced hegemonic paradigms and others that challenged those traditional presentations.
"The show offers a lot of strong feminine critiques and challenges typical gender stereotypes, such as the woman in peril or damsel in distress. Buffy is a female hero. The show offers a new paradigm for heroes. Plus, it is a well-written show and a lot of fun."
The television series is a supernatural drama that aired from March 1997 until May 2003. It was created by writer/director Joss Whedon. The series follows Buffy, played by actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, who is a teenage high-school student and a slayer chosen to battle vampires and other forces of darkness.
Whedon has called the series a metaphor for "high school as a horror movie" and said the episodes often include deeper meanings or metaphors.
The series first aired on the WB network and had about six million viewers per original show. After five years, it transferred to UPN and went into syndication in the U.S. on local stations and cable channels. The series continues to have a cult following and has led to many spinoff products including television series, novels, comics, video games and music albums.
The symposium was held from 1 to 6 p.m. in the university's Lee Hall. Admission was free, and the event was open to the public.
Halpin's entire family, all self-described Buffy fans, drove from East Greenbush to attend the symposium. According to Halpin's mother, Stephanie, "I'm the reason they all love Buffy. We wouldn't have missed this." (Quoted From Thedailystar.com)
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