ex_lucidity482: (Default)
rawles ([personal profile] ex_lucidity482) wrote in [personal profile] thedeadparrot 2010-04-14 03:02 am (UTC)

here from my lj flist

This is an excellent post. I've been reading (and responding to) the recent discussion about Mary Sues and while I heartily agree with the idea that the underlying misogyny of the sporking culture and the way it makes women terrified to write women being awesome is extremely problematic, you bring up a great bit of intersectionality that wasn't being directly addressed. And one that is done great disservice by the takeaway that all Mary Sues are harmless and empowering. Empowering one person at the expense of another isn't actually empowering at all.

For me, reading the discussions of sporking culture's lasting effects was automatically framed through my own experience and involvement in it. Namely, that I ended up so, so, so afraid of becoming one of those people who I was, at that time, participating in mocking that I didn't want to invent characters like me (even in original fiction) or focus on canon characters like me. This was because I'd internalized the idea that if it could be seen as representative of me then it was a self-insert (or in the case of canon characters being used as a self-insert) and if it was a self-insert it was a Mary Sue. And I only fully turned away from that neurosis (or started to because, honestly, I'm not going to pretend I don't still worry whenever I'm writing a female character) after I accepted that my belief in the importance of illuminating and representing marginalized bodies in fiction meant that I couldn't sit around and not write black women just because I happened to be one.

As already acknowledged, there are so many clarity issues in the conversation due to the fact that Mary Sue as a term has essentially lost all meaning.

In the common vernacular, a Mary Sue is a power fantasy that reinforces racist/misogynist/ableist/etc. standards and usually warps the entire narrative around it to make itself superlative to the detriment of the other characters who might have been bucking those harmful standards. But in an equally common vernacular, a Mary Sue is also any random female character that the fanculture, under the influence of those same racist/misogynistic/ableist/etc. standards, decides is too awesome/intelligent/desirable/powerful/what have you.

Basically, you know that shit is fucked when both Uhura and the OFC invented for the sole purpose of humiliating and replacing her have been called the same thing.

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