Sexualities is a journal that I love; they’re always publishing fascinating articles and the journal is such an incredible resource for people working in the field of sexuality/gender. So I am pretty excited that they have just published one of my manuscripts!
This article is an analysis of how readers reacted to the character of Buffy going ‘heteroflexible’ by sleeping with another woman. It’s a follow-up on an article I wrote on how the storyline was handled by Whedon and his team, which was published in Sexual Rhetoric in the Works of Joss Whedon. I originally presented this new paper at the 4th Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses in 2010 (one of the best conference to attend if you want to see convivial academic collaboration and support), where it won the Mr. Pointy Award for best conference paper.
The article is entitled “When the heterosexual script goes flexible: Public reactions to female heteroflexibility in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic books,” and here is the abstract:
The phenomenon of heteroflexibility, wherein a heterosexual character engages in same-sex intimacy, provides a good example of how modern narratives of sexuality can contain promises of subversion yet also shore up heteronormative schemas. To fully understand how the notion of heteroflexibility functions to broaden and/or restrict our understandings of (female) sexuality, we need to examine how these narratives are taken up by the audience. This article explores this tension by analysing how readers reacted to a heteroflexible storyline featured in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic books. By examining how this story was interpreted, rejected and/or embraced by readers, I show that readers who disliked the heteroflexible storyline as well as those who enjoyed it draw on liberal discourses that obscure how heteronormativity operates. This in turn limits heteroflexibility’s potential for disrupting dominant heteronormative discourses.