It’s All Buffy’s Fault!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 23, 2008 — 5 Comments

According to sociologist Dr Kristin Aune, Christian churches in England have been losing 50,000 women members per year since 1989, and some of the blame can be placed on the shoulders of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Buffy and Willow. Art by Jo Chen

“Today’s modern woman sees more relevance in TV icons who promote female empowerment such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, than in church and traditional religion, according to new research to be published in the Church Times this week. Dr Kristin Aune, a sociologist at the University of Derby, says the church (all Christian denominations) must act to halt the steep decline in female attendance at services across the country. She says: ‘In short, women are abandoning the church.'”

So if all these women are leaving the pews, where are they going? To Wicca and Paganism of course!

“It says that instead young women are becoming attracted to the pagan religion Wicca, where females play a central role, which has grown in popularity after being featured positively in films, TV shows and books. The report’s author, Dr Kristin Aune, a sociologist at the University of Derby, said: … ‘Because of its focus on female empowerment, young women are attracted by Wicca, popularised by the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Young women tend to express egalitarian values and dislike the traditionalism and hierarchies they imagine are integral to the church.'”

Aune’s research, which appears in the book “Women and Religion in the West: Challenging Secularization”, also cites English Church Census data that claims teenage boys outnumber girls in the pews for the first time in history.

“Over the past decade, it claims, women have been leaving churches at twice the rate of men. In addition, the census is said to show that teenage boys now outnumber girls in the pews for the first time. Dr Aune says the church must adapt to the needs of modern women if it is to stop them leaving in their droves.”

So in short, while old men argue about whether women can be bishops, or if gays should be treated like human beings, the women have been leaving in droves to faiths that are more relevant to their lives. You can all do the reproductive math and figure out what happens to a religious tradition with a shortage of women. Somehow I don’t think introducing “Saturday morning breakfast clubs” will stem the tide. Maybe if they gave out free Buffy comics?

Jason Pitzl-Waters