For whatever reason, my internet has recently brought me into contact with a number of people who decry a certain piece of media by saying that the female character (or characters) are just Mary Sues. This happens a lot, actually. And it always makes me go like this;
Because, you see, an awful lot of the time it seems like people are using Mary Sue as a shorthand for “female.” (I am not the first one to notice this.) If a girl has too many skills– Mary Sue. If a girl has too FEW skills and yet avoids being a body in a freezer– Mary Sue. If a girl is too loved– Mary Sue. If a girl is too unloved– Mary Sue. If a girl has any kind of history which is not middle-class-suburban-america, she’s a Mary Sue. If a girl is from middle class suburban America, she is also a Mary Sue.
And to a certain point, I thought that was weird but attributed it to people who didn’t know how to read anything in context, or just really enjoyed hating. And then today, I was struck with curiosity and a desire to avoid what I was writing about, so I put MYSELF through the Mary Sue test.
And guess what? I’m a Sue. I am a “character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as a wish-fulfilment fantasy for the author or reader. Generally accepted as a character whose positive aspects overwhelm their other traits until they become one-dimensional.”
Okay guys, I am a real person. I have no intention of being anyone’s wish fulfillment, and I CERTAINLY have flaws. But yet, my history, and the fact that I have skills, and the fact that I have also lived certain parts of my life without significantly using my skills– this now makes me one-demential and hackneyed.
You guys, I think something is wrong with how we decide when female characters are unrealistic.