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(Meta) Buffyverse sexuality survey - results

15th February 2008 (23:43)
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Thanks to everybody who replied to my Buffyverse sexuality survey! As of writing this I've had 140 responses... and if you want to know the results, then in order from most straight to most gay, the votes were:

Joyce, Riley, Cordelia (0)
Buffy, Dawn, Oz (1)
Xander, Anya, Giles, Spike, Angel (2)
Faith (3)
Willow (4)
Andrew (5)
Tara (6)

Below the cut, you'll find lots of geeky statistical wittering analysis of the results.


Nothing entirely surprising in the responses, although it's not precisely the ratings I chose myself. Which, for the record, were:
5 (not 4) for Willow (if she claims to be 'gay now' I'm not going to argue with her own self-assessment)
1 (not 2) for Giles and Spike (some same-sex experimentation in their past I can accept, but not a consistent pattern of it.)
1 (not 0) for Joyce (Pat in 'Dead Man's Party?)
4 (not 3) for Faith. (I went into this in far too much depth already)

I also picked 0 (not 2) for Anya, although with hindsight (being reminded in the comments of her flirtation with Willow in 'Same Time Same Place') I'd change that. The other 9 characters, I voted in line with the consensus.

Looking at where I vary, it's interesting that apart from Anya, in every case I assigned a rating that was higher (gayer) for female characters and lower (straighter) for male characters than the overall vote - which from what I can work out, comprised 57 women, 11 men and 72 people whose gender is unknown to me. I'm not sure if that's just a coincidence or evidence of an inbuilt tendency to want to slash the opposite sex. :-)

It's also notable that on some characters there was a very clear agreement: but on others a wide variety of answers. Only five characters managed to get a majority of people agreeing on their orientation: Buffy, Cordelia, Joyce, Riley and Tara. Interestingly, the person who inspired the most certainty was Riley, with 68% of people saying he's completely straight (0) and 93% agreeing he's either completely or mostly straight (0-1). Mind you, two people said he's completely gay (6), which leads me to think I should have added a question saying "Do you often give deliberately wrong answers to online surveys? (Y/N)"... 

Tara came second in the certainty league - it's possibly significant that both these characters were initially introduced as love interests of major characters, so you could say their respective sexualities pretty much defined their role on the show. As for Buffy, the opposite could well apply. Her relationships and feelings were the centrepiece of the show for over seven years, and so we have an abundance of information to draw our conclusions on, leading to a general consensus.

Riley - 68% say 0, 93% 0-1.
Tara - 64% say 6, 94% say 5-6.
Joyce - 62% say 0, 97% a 0-1.
Buffy - 60% say 1, 97% a 0-2.
Cordelia - 56% say 0; 89% a 0-1.

At the other extreme, the person inspiring the least certainty about his sexual orientation was Oz, with fewer than one third of the votes (32%) agreeing on him being a 1, and barely a majority (58%) saying he was 0-1. Several people remarked in the comments about how difficult it was to categorise him. Angel was also hard to place, with only 34% saying he was a 2 and 62% assigning him to the spread 2-3. Given that he's one of the only four characters in the main cast to have canonically engaged in same-gender sex I can see why he was voted somewhere near the centre of the scale... but given also the emphasis in the show on his romantic and sexual involvements with Buffy, Darla, Cordelia and Nina, one has to wonder if the popularity of Spangel fanfic also influenced the voting here. :-)

Given that Willow's redefinition of her sexual orientation was the cause of huge flamewars and controversy back in the day, it's also worth noting that 76% of respondents put her in the 'gay' section of the scale, while 68% put her in the 'bisexual' section. The people of LJ have spoken! :-) (The numbers overlap since I consider 4 to be in both areas).

Watch this space for a similar poll on 'Angel' characters. One question: should I duplicate those characters who appeared on both series? At present, I'm thinking that Angel, Doyle, Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn, Fred, Lorne, Connor, Lindsey, Lilah and Darla should definitely be included. That's 11 people, and there's a maximum of 15 in the poll, so there are four vacant spots. Who else to include? Faith and Spike? Holtz or Justine? Illyria? Eve? Harmony? Drusilla? Virginia Bryce? The Groosalugg? Suggestions welcome...

Comments

Posted by: woman_of_ (woman_of_)
Posted at: 16th February 2008 00:19 (UTC)

Not sure about Faith and Spike.....would what happened in AtS not have effected the vote already....really the same with Angel...maybe even Cordelia and Wesley. I mean it was not clear that it was only on BtVS we were voting.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 16th February 2008 00:53 (UTC)

Well, I didn't include Wesley in the BtVS poll, so he'd have to go here. And it seems weird to have a poll on the Angel characters without including Angel himself, so...

Posted by: meretrix (laisserais)
Posted at: 16th February 2008 01:01 (UTC)
angel - smell your brain

Given that he's one of the only four characters in the main cast to have canonically engaged in same-gender sex O_O what did i MISS? When did that happen?

and i think you're right re: wanting to slash the opposite gender. we're funny that way, we fen.

Looking forward to your Angel poll. I nominate: Drusilla, Justine, Harmony and Eve.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 16th February 2008 01:20 (UTC)

what did i MISS? When did that happen?

Unknown. :-) It's in Angel 5.21 'Power Play'. Spike talking to Illyria:

SPIKE: Guess I don't have to worry about that, 'cause Angel and me have never been intimate. Except that one time...

(The characters in question being Angel, Spike, Willow and Tara... and I was defining 'main cast' as 'being in the opening credits').

Posted by: meretrix (laisserais)
Posted at: 16th February 2008 03:57 (UTC)
a/s - bad touching

*facepalm* haha, omg. i can't believe i forgot about that. yes, yes. Powerplay. eep.

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 16th February 2008 03:34 (UTC)
Psych pineapple

I'm not sure if that's just a coincidence or evidence of an inbuilt tendency to want to slash the opposite sex.

Oh, I think it's definitely the latter. :) For me, at least, the characters where I varied from the norm were rated gayer than I rated them - and they happen to be some of the most frequently slashed characters in the fandom: Spike, Angel, Faith, and Xander. Of course, you could argue that they're slashed more because there's more basis for it in canon, but I don't think that's necessarily the main consideration...

Mind you, two people said he's completely gay (6), which leads me to think I should have added a question saying "Do you often give deliberately wrong answers to online surveys? (Y/N)"

*snort* LOL!

As for Angel characters, I'd say we don't need to repeat Faith, Spike, or Cordelia. I don't really think we need to repeat Angel, either, but it is his show... I definitely think we should add Drusilla to the list. I'm also curious what people would make of Illyria. I mean, in order to determine straight or gay, we'd first have to agree on a gender. The impression I got was male or genderless god in a female body. What do we do with that?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 16th February 2008 13:16 (UTC)

Do you often give deliberately wrong answers to online surveys? (Y/N)
Of course the problem with that is that everybody would tick 'No'... because if they do give wrong answers, they would have to answer this question wrongly too...


I'm not sure Illyria's divine complexity can be bound within the restrictions of a mortal LJ poll, unfortunately. :-) Personally I'd say she's a genderless primordial tentacle monster trapped within a human female shell... does that make her the Jossverse equivalent of trans? And are her feelings for Wesley her own, or evidence of Fred's personality still influencing her?

Posted by: none of the above (frogfarm)
Posted at: 17th February 2008 04:28 (UTC)

does that make her the Jossverse equivalent of trans?

"Close as it gets."

And are her feelings for Wesley her own, or evidence of Fred's personality still influencing her?

Anyone with taste loves Wesley, once they get to know him. What's dropping Gunn at Wesley's feet but the primordial equivalent of delivering a dead bird or mouse? A reverse offering, to prove one's superiority at hunting, and provoke the only appropriate response:

Yes. Worship.

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: 16th February 2008 08:37 (UTC)

I'm not sure if that's just a coincidence or evidence of an inbuilt tendency to want to slash the opposite sex. :-)

Indubitably, I'd say.

I think include Spike and Cordelia in the AtS poll as well. Cordy is a main character and it's possible that the 'intimate that one time,' not to mention the slashy scene in Destiny, may have made some people change their minds about him.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 16th February 2008 13:21 (UTC)

Or, possibly, a reluctance to slash your own gender because it's vaguely threatening? Hmm.

And so far I'm getting conflicting feedback on whether to include the crossover characters. :-( I probably will, unless someone points out a really critical character I've missed out in the list above, and need to make space for.

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 16th February 2008 11:45 (UTC)
Bugger - Joss by earth_vexer

You know, it terrible being a Torchwood fan - because I've been reading through all this, and suddenly all I can hear in my head is Captain Jack: You people and your quaint little categories. ;)

I mean that scale doesn't even include 'omnisexual'! Would be useless for the TW characters. (I love that show though, because it is PURE CRACK. I love the Jossverse for having a semblance of normalcy in amongst all the crazy.)

(Seriously though, v. interesting results. And I'd also give all the '2's a '1'. As for Spike & Angel, then they aren't gay, they're vampires. Different story altogether.)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 16th February 2008 13:28 (UTC)

Tell Captain Jack to stop trying to pretend he's special. He can be a '3' and like it. :-)

Mind you, instead of a poll that looks like this:
0-1-2-3-4-5-6

the Torchwood version would probably look like this:
2-3-4

As for Spike & Angel, then they aren't gay, they're vampires.
True... although I'm hypothesising that souled vampires are capable of love (including the empathy and self-sacrifice parts as well as the enjoying-the-company and obsession parts, which they can do). Therefore, it's more meaningful to discuss their orientation.

Of course, if I include Harmony and Drusilla in the 'Angel' poll that'll complicate matters...)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 16th February 2008 13:59 (UTC)
Spangel (sub)text by moscow_watcher

Tell Captain Jack to stop trying to pretend he's special. He can be a '3' and like it. :-)
Hmmm. Well your poll doesn't allow for attraction to poodles and insect-aliens (to mention just two canon examples). Still off the chart. ETA: OK, so it was Capt. John who checked out a poodle. Still - Time Agents will do *anything*, any gender, any species, as long as it's gorgeous enough. Hence the 'omnisexual'.)

the Torchwood version would probably look like this:
2-3-4

Snerk. Yes. :)

Therefore, it's more meaningful to discuss their orientation.
Oh of course. What I meant was more the family/blood ties, and the whole biting issue, which is part of that, and which would transcend gender issues I think.

Of course, if I include Harmony and Drusilla in the 'Angel' poll that'll complicate matters...)
And Darla! Although I remember Harmony specifying threesomes as boy-boy-girl, so I guess she's fairly straight.

Edited at 2008-02-16 14:30 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 16th February 2008 15:35 (UTC)

Though Harmony did add "unless it's Charlize Theron", which is enough information to make a pretty precise placing of her sexuality...

And even vampires seem to have a preferred gender to bite: remember 'I take him, you take her? Or the other way round, whatever..." from 'Sleeper'?

Also, Darla was a souled human in season 2 of Angel...

Posted by: mr_waterproof (mr_waterproof)
Posted at: 18th February 2008 19:34 (UTC)

"the Torchwood version would probably look like this:
2-3-4"


Well so far we haven't seen anything to warrant Gwen or Owen rating higher than a one...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 18th February 2008 19:44 (UTC)

"so far"
:-)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 18th February 2008 20:56 (UTC)
Jack/Ianto S2 kiss by indiexicons

*cough*

From 'Day One' (1.02):

[Gwen is still kissing Carys.]
OWEN: Whoa.
JACK: Wow.
TOSHIKO: She said she had a boyfriend.
JACK: You people and your quaint little categories.

(OK, so there was 'alien sex pollen' involved, still...)

And from 'Everything Changes' (1.01):

COLIN: What the fuck d'you think you're doing with my girlfriend? You bastard!
OWEN HARPER: Hey, I didn’t know. She was on her own. She never said.
COLIN: You tosser. You fucking tosser.
LINDA: Colin, button it, he's mine.
COLIN: Do you want to have a go, do you? Do you want to have a go? Come on then mate!
OWEN HARPER: Well, if it makes it easier ...
(Owen takes out the perfume spray bottle and sprays the liquid on his face. Owen smiles at him. Colin grabs Owen by the face and kisses him.)
COLIN: I am so having you.
(Linda pushes Colin away from Owen.)
LINDA: I'm having him first!
OWEN HARPER: Taxi!


I think being bi-sexual is one of the basic requirements for working for Torchwood. (At least when Jack's the boss! *g*)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 18th February 2008 21:32 (UTC)
storm

elisi, I think you're definitely getting serious about this Torchwood thing now you've started quoting verbatim dialogue from previous episodes to support your points. :-)

Andrew, I think the expression here is 'pwnd'. ;-)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 18th February 2008 21:38 (UTC)
Ianto awesome by rebelsaint

'Serious'? I iz lost - utterly, totally and completely! I was just sat there all innocently and then it ATE ME ALIVE! (The only reason I'm not writing reams of meta is that I quite simply don't have the time. *is sad*)

Posted by: mr_waterproof (mr_waterproof)
Posted at: 18th February 2008 21:39 (UTC)

I remembered both of those scenes: that's why I was willing to rate them both 1, not 0.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 17th February 2008 02:51 (UTC)

mm-hmm...

(And it was only two when I wrote this. The Riley Gayification Front acquired its latest member too recently for me to include it in the results...)

Posted by: Owen (owenthurman)
Posted at: 17th February 2008 23:13 (UTC)

"You have something to tell me?"
"What? Oh. Yes, I am a lesbian."

Plus, just look at him. Body language, complete lack of chemistry with Buffy and Faith and Sam, and obsessive self-depilation are all tell-tale signs of that basic repressed homosexuality.

Posted by: skipp_of_ark (skipp_of_ark)
Posted at: 18th February 2008 03:23 (UTC)

As for Joyce and Pat: zero chemistry whatsoever. The fact that Joyce found a friend of the same gender over the summer that Buffy was gone reveals nothing in the way of samesex interest, IMO. And yeah, I think some of the poll takers *coughoriginalpostercough* are too inclined to look for slash subtext in characters of the opposite sex.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 19th February 2008 03:42 (UTC)

It still of my opinion that all characters in the Buffyverse have bisexual tendency, except for Riley.

But I would love to do an Angel one cause honestly, that show made it a bit more harder to grade than the naturally teenage driven show Buffy was, where mostly all could be taken as a joke or a nod, where in Angel they were stated almost as facts. Like Spike in Powerplay or Harmony's threeway line. Darla's "Is not me you wanna screw" line to Lindsey.

But I don't think is fair that Illyria be in the poll. She defines herself as male with how she speaks. The whole King speech. But I think the old ones didn't have gender... then again, "This one's lusting after me" seems to indicate she knows about intercourse of some form.

But any sexual feelings her body experiences is merely what Fred felt. Otherwise, wouldn't her new human body become all hormanal? It's a dead body reanimated by her ancient power. She doesn't feel anything other than the lingering memory of Fred.

At least that's how I have interpret all that.

Posted by: satsux (satsux)
Posted at: 19th February 2008 03:44 (UTC)

And I forgot to log on. >__> But yeah, that's still my opinion. Fred should be how we base Illyria on.

Posted by: they call me genius jen (girlpire)
Posted at: 7th January 2009 19:23 (UTC)
angel cordelia smell your brains

veddy veddy intevestink.

i think angel has been rated too gay. there's just no way he's gayer than oz. and buffy.

plus, if we're going to accept willow's "gay now" assertion even though she's done it with both genders, i think we should accept angelus' line about not "swinging that way" from the episode soulless, despite what is implied (a grand total of once) about his past.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th January 2009 00:24 (UTC)
buffy-satsu-healing

I'm inclined to agree with you. Angel (on his own show at least) always seemed very relaxed about other people thinking he was gay, but I always got the impression that's because he's very secure in his own sexuality, not because he actually was gay/bi.

Of course since I wrote this post originally, the number of main cast characters who've canonically slept with the same sex has gone up by one. :-)

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