To balance out Buffy’s male-gaze-fueled costuming, they made sure to arm her with enough masculine energy for everyone. Buffy is a hyper-independent, sassy, sarcastic vampire hunter, but it seems that Whedon prefers to take generically good-looking, potential damsels in distress and then equip them with the right amount of masculine edge to let them live/prevail, as opposed to leaning into their power as feminine beings. Buffy staking vampires through the heart is read as a phallic extension of herself, showing that even though her own agility may fail, at least she has the auxiliary help of a wooden stick to make her ultimately powerful as Sunnyvale’s protector.
In episode 1 of “Buffy: The Animated Series,” when recounting the previous night when she defeated a vampire, she discusses this defeat as though it were a one-night stand; a conquest whom she easily encountered, assessed, and defeated. She explains to her peers that it’s as easy as “open vamp, insert stake.” Buffy did exactly what she had to do, but it’s hard to ignore the parallels the creator was trying to draw here. It’s also clear that Whedon believes that the arsenal of tools and skills at the disposal of our titular character and her friends are fairly amateur when stacked against a more traditional, violent, masculine approach.