“Who Are You?”: Buffy’s Lacanian Mirror Stage

I have a great, great love for Buffy. It’s a text that keeps on giving; I was firstly into Buffy, as y’know girls kicking ass and all that fun. But it’s also a wonderful text that reflects on the theory that we’re currently reading.

This clip comes from episode 4×16 “Who Are You?” (the interesting stuff for purposes of this post happen until 0:28, but if you have Netflix, you can watch the whole episode, which I’d recommend for context!) In this episode, Buffy’s body has been swapped with that of another slayer, Faith. Faith is a rogue slayer, having killed a man. She managed to switch bodies, because y’know, magic.

In this clip, we see examples of the theory we have talked about today, from reification (the repetition of”you can’t do that, it’s wrong”), instantiation (the mirror acting as a conduit for the material, the physicality of Buffy’s body, and the psychic, Faith’s mind) and of course, the Lacanian narrative. Faith is learning to be Buffy through her body, through verbalization, through looking in the mirror as Buffy. She is putting together her fragmented self, literally the mind of someone in the body of another, through the use of mirroring. The mirror here (which is actually the camera*) is not the only mirror which is important. The most important mirroring throughout the episode is Faith’s mirroring of what she supposes to be Buffy’s actions and responses in situations, which ultimately acts as a sort of redemption on the character’s part for her past actions.

*theories of the camera gaze here forthcoming after we’ve read Mulvey!


2 thoughts on ““Who Are You?”: Buffy’s Lacanian Mirror Stage

  1. I am just so excited that you’re using Buffy as an example for Lacanian narrative! Although, fair warning, I’ve never watched Buffy, but have been told that I really should. Still, I found this clip to be a great example for both reification and instantiation. Faith does really seem to get comfortable in Buffy’s body, doesn’t she?
    Anyway, great clip! I enjoyed it! Yet another reason to start watching Buffy! 😛

  2. Pingback: Buffy and the “Strong” Female Character | Girlpower

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