eyrane: (Default)
Jenn ([personal profile] eyrane) wrote in [personal profile] thedeadparrot 2010-04-13 11:26 pm (UTC)

So now I have to rethink how I feel about the issue.

Mary Sues, especially when used unironically in full rampant glory, are annoying as fuck. I've never had any argument with that. My problem was with readers who couldn't use the back button, or went looking for these things, in order to use it to entertain others. Because that's what Sue reports usually are: entertainment. They aren't often meant to say This is racist or This is internalized misogyny and they aren't limited to Sues that are problematic in that way; at least, I didn't see any such that I can remember, back when I was reading deleterious. I may be wrong.

But this horrified me:

One of my first fannish experiences with Mary Sues was in the Legend of Zelda fandom, where Link fell in love with a new girlfriend who was awesome because she could shoot arrows on horseback and because she was so much better than Zelda, that lame, prissy, jealous harpy.

I like Mary Sue conceptually because she's often empowering. She's not exactly fun for other people to read - she's someone else's wish fulfillment, and I don't really have a pressing desire to see every author's id (which is part of why I got uncomfortable reading the Anita Blake books, but my problems with that series are legion and immaterial to this discussion, so I won't go on) - but, well: empowering. It's why I can be irritated at people who try to police Mary Sues, but have no desire to read them myself.

But that is not empowering. And your scenario with the Spock/Uhura/Sue triangle is not empowering. It makes me want to puke. These scenarios are about slapping women down, and I really really hate that, which is where I was coming from when I was thinking "write what makes you happy no matter what!"

So. I guess what I meant by my tl;dr here is that I hadn't seen all sides of the argument, and I am pleased to be informed when I might be doing something problematic, so thank you for this post.

I still think it's dangerous to wholly deride Mary Sue, just as it would be to fully embrace her. The term is just too loaded for it to be any one thing.

But you know, actually, I think the other place that this is all coming from might be because Mary Sue and Original Female Character often seem to read as synonymous. Nothing in this round of "Why I Love Mary Sue" has seemed to me to be saying "Because I Like to Hate Canonical Women." I think it's just an attempt to claim and transform a term that can be unfairly applied and keeps getting increasingly derogatory.

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