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Buffy is a Sassy girl

We had a lovely Solstice dinner last night (crab enchiladas! Thanks MiAmor!) with some old college pals. I wish I could say "old" in the sense of "dear", but my friends and I are gray enough that both meanings work just fine. *sigh* However! My darling Kitty, who happens to be McDiva's godmother, gave me a wee giftie that's already got the wheels turning this morning. It is a book entitled, How Sassy Changed My Life (a love letter to the greatest teen magazine of all time).

Oh, how the memories flooded back! Both Kitty and I were well out of our teens by the time Sassy came along. And truthfully, lots of its admirers were not in the (supposed) target demographic. I remember Joey Ramone saying it was his favorite, for instance. I'm guessing one Joss Whedon was also a true believer. Sassy was gone by 1994, but just check out this description from the flyleaf:

Sassy
was the arbiter of all that was hip and cool, inspiring a dogged devotion from its readers while almost single-handedly bringing the idea of girl culture to the mainstream. [It had a] unique fusion of feminism and femininity.


It's this last bit that got me thinking about Buffy. She's definitely got that "glad to be a girl" thing going on, which I always love to see, being glad to be a girl my own self, and she is perfectly fine with being the power, all her complaining to the contrary. For me, one of Buffy's greatest moments is in Gingerbread, where she steps between the jocks and their target (goth boy, in this case) and asks brightly if there's a problem. No ma'am, no problem, assure the jocks, backing away. The implication is that Buffy does this all the time, culminating with the umbrella trophy scene in The Prom, which makes her public heroism explicit.

Anyway, I'm now thinking that Sassy editor Jane Pratt was a direct inspiration for a lot of what we see in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, possibly including Spike/William's supposed "real" last name. I'd like to think that was at least part of Joss' leetle joke there, anyway. I could go on and on about how great magazines have far-flung cultural influence even when they are small, but I'm a believer in brevity, so I'll just say
Happy Holidays and Boy Howdy!

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
xlivvielockex
Dec. 22nd, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, I might have to find that book. It sounds good. I loved Sassy when I was growing up. I remember reading back issues in the library, thinking I was oh so grown up.

I think you might be onto something as far as influences go. :)
rebcake
Dec. 23rd, 2009 05:18 am (UTC)
I know, right? Sassy was such a gift. Every month, it would refuse to accept that girls should be ashamed. And by "girls" I mean "anybody". So radical, and not at all what the acne cream shills are after as a wrapper for their ads, even now. I wouldn't say it started the new wave of positive, upbeat feminism, exactly, but it was certainly a rallying place.
penny_lane_42
Dec. 22nd, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC)
I know nothing about Sassy (being...seven or eight when it died!), but it sounds absolutely fantastic and I might end up checking out that book.

And I totally, totally agree with that Buffy moment. It's truly fantastic.
rebcake
Dec. 23rd, 2009 05:38 am (UTC)
I see your bazooka, and raise it with action! Tee!

I remember magazines even older than Sassy, believe it or not, but it was pretty darned special. Bust is the closest equivalent now, but it is aimed at adults. *sniff* Loves to see gals having a good time, in print*
mere_ubu
Dec. 23rd, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
*hands* AHHHH!!! Pratt!! You're a genius.

M. Mere gave me a subscription to Sassy in grad school, and we loved it so freaking much! There was such sadness in the household when it went away. I especially loved the way the movie ratings had menstrual equivalents, with "prostrate atop a crimson tide" supplanting the "one star" rating. *happy sigh* Good times. Also? Because of Sassy, we never refer to Michael Douglas without referring to him as "elderly jellybutt Michael Douglas." I'm totally getting that book.

Happy Solstice! Crab enchiladas sound fabulous. I'm currently conducting extensive testing to see if gingerbread cookie poisoning is a possibility. (The public deserves to know!) I'll keep you posted. ;)

Edited at 2009-12-23 06:02 am (UTC)
rebcake
Dec. 23rd, 2009 06:51 am (UTC)
I'm currently conducting extensive testing to see if gingerbread cookie poisoning is a possibility.

Ah, science! It's in season! (BTW: watch the mails.)

Heh, one of the theses of the Sassy book is that you can still find the members of your tribe by asking, "Did you read Sassy?" If they did, you know you've found one of your own, and if they didn't (unless too young), well I'm sure they are very nice...

Your memory is much sharper than mine, but now I want to go diving through my storage boxes, to see if I can find my old issues. Alas, it's very possible that they are in there somewhere. (MiAmor found his old Creem magazines a couple of years ago, when I was reliving the mid '70s, so it's likely.)

Happy holidays, darling!
molly_may
Dec. 23rd, 2009 02:45 pm (UTC)
Count me in as another Sassy fan! It was like a little monthly dose of fun feminism available at the grocery store magazine counter, and that's the kind of thing that's pretty much impossible to find now, much less 20+ (gulp) years ago. I know it was a huge influence on my teenage self.
rebcake
Jan. 11th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)
a little monthly dose of fun feminism

Yep! It was a much more positive experience than getting Ms which always made me furious at the inequity everywhere. Sassy was all about the joy of being a girl. Tempered with reality, of course.

However, if you can find Bust in your area (it is in grocery stores in my neighborhood, but my neighborhood is unusual), I think you might find it does the trick. Alas, it is not directed at teenagers.

Sorry for the late reply! I blame the holiday madness.
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