I re-watched “Family” yesterday. More love to Tara! *hugs fictional character tightly*
In combination with instances like this
I think her general demeanor shows Tara is submissive. However, as usual in mainstream TV, it is not healthy for her. Buffy has a sadomasochistic relationship with Spike, but it is also unhealthy. Furthermore, it culminates in Spike attempting to rape Buffy. Back to Tara…
Tara’s family finds her in Sunnydale. Clearly, she is afraid of them. It turns out (I assume you’ve realized by now, my blog is full of spoilers for my fandoms, stop now if you don’t want to know what happens!) her family lied to her about the origins of her magic. They told her it came from being half-demon and her entire childhood they emotionally abused her, berating her, terrifying her, and feeding her self-loathing. Her male family members, especially her father, are obviously dominant. For Tara it seems her self-consciousness and fear of herself translated into a shy, quiet, easygoing, submissive demeanor. Her female cousin implores her to return saying Tara is selfish because with her gone, her father and brother must take care of the house by themselves. Her dad says demeaning things like, “I won’t be threatened by two little girls.” Her brother threatens her with violence. Earlier Tara even responded to an order with “Yes, Sir.”
Her submissive nature stems from childhood emotional abuse. This episode occurred in the 5th season. From then on, until her untimely, tragic, death in season 6, she becomes less and less submissive and more outspoken.
To me, her character background, coupled with her character arc, implies submission is for broken, wounded, scared people. Once they conquer their fear, they will no longer be submissive.
Do you think Tara is submissive? If not, why not? If you do, do you think my interpretation of Tara’s submission is correct? If not, why not? If so, do you think it was intentional?