Girl Power

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I was reading something about how to explain to children that one of their classmates had had her leg amputated, and it reminded me of the one-legged girl at the school where I did my teaching practice.

She was a small, slightly built child of 13 or 14 and wore an over-knee prosthetic leg. She had a mild limp, but not enough that anyone would consider her disabled — just a bit ungainly. At home, she didn’t wear her leg: she hopped instead, so her sense of balance was amazing.

One day, after school, some boys from a neighbouring school were bullying her — or rather, attempting to bully her. (The boys — and girls — at her own school knew better.) After telling them to eff off a few times, but to no avail, she did the only thing a small girl can do when faced by three larger aggressors — she whipped off her leg and beat them with it. And when they tried to run away, she hopped after them at full pelt and beat them some more.

In the DVD commentary to Season 1 of Buffy, Joss Whedon says, ‘The first thing I ever thought of [was] the little blonde girl who goes into a dark alley and gets killed in every horror movie. The idea of Buffy was to subvert that idea, that image, and create someone who was a hero where she had always been a victim.’

I like to think that adolescent girl has grown into a mature woman who is still beating up evil men with her false leg: ‘I think he must have tripped, officer. He was trying to attack me, and my leg came off in the struggle. Next thing I knew, he was lying there on the pavement, unconscious. Maybe he fainted?’

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