In response to scott’s comment here, on the Whedon EqualityNow speech.
I was quite struck by Whedon’s comment about not only writing strong women characters but also writing male characters who thought they were the fushizzle. One the one hand – yay! – but on the other, I was reminded of some thoughts I’d had previously about the way some men/male characters are attracted to strong women/characters. They may love and adore them, but some are also attracted to the idea of controlling or weakening them (which reminds me of a Hot Club of Cowtown lyric: “I can’t tame wild women, but I can make tame women wild”). This seems to apply to people like Spike.
In the most recent Angel I’ve watched (Guise will be Guise) the fake swami makes a comment about how Angel needed to find a small blonde woman and trash her as a way of dealing with his anger/distress about being trashed by Darla when she found out he had a soul. Angel’s response was non-verbal, but he was obviously thinking ‘hm, he might be right’. That could just have been Angel piling on a little more guilt (he is guilt-meister), but it mightn’t…
Of course, the blonde in question was Buffy – and Angel made an effort to trash her in the last Angel episode where we saw her in L.A. (I Will Remember you). He might remember that visit fondly, as the one chance he had to be human with her, but she left only remembering his totally trashing her. He knows this, he’s packing guilt for it (as per usual), but… don’t mean he didn’t get some passive-aggressive payback pleasure re Darla/Buffy moving on with Reilly-ace-of-spies.
But of course – Angel has issues. That’s his job.