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Mary sue

09:14, 13/07/2021
What does Mary Sue mean?

Mary Sue is a term used khổng lồ describe a fictional character, usually female, who is seen as too perfect & almost boring for lachồng of flaws, originally written as an idealized version of an author in fanfiction.

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Both the Mary Sue character type and sub-genre originated with “A Trekkie’s Tale,” a short piece of satirical Star Trek fanfiction which famously began, “‘Gee, golly gosh, gloriosky,’ thought Mary Sue as she stepped on the bridge of the Enterprise. ‘Here I am, the youngest lieutenant in the Fleet — only 15 1/2 years old.’”

The very short story was written by Paula Smith in 1973 for Menagerie, a Star Trek fanzine for which she was an editor. In a 2011 interview, Smith explained that, as an editor who read a significant amount of Star Trek fanfiction (written by women, in particular), she noticed a pattern of recurring adolescent female characters who were the youngest ever in their Starfleet position, irresistibly yet uniquely attractive sầu, và uncannily talented and capable in every adventure she và the crew dared endeavor.

“A Trekkie’s Tale” was written khổng lồ parody what Smith viewed as a comtháng practice with young writers to perhaps subconsciously write an idealized version of themselves inlớn the story and fail khổng lồ write the original Star Trek characters accurately as a result of interacting with the author’s unrealistic wish-fulfillment figure. Because the character & story type continued to crop up in fanfiction submissions, Smith and other editors began referring lớn them as “Lieutenant Mary Sue” stories, và the term Mary Sue quickly caught on with the public.

The concept of a Mary Sue has received fair & significantly complex criticism in the decades since the term was coined, with confusion over whether it has become inherently misogynistic khổng lồ accuse characters of being a Mary Sue or whether it is a legitimate type of literary character. Salon wrote in 2015, “The term Mary Sue is rooted in a long history of dismissing female characters và holding them lớn absurd double standards,” alluding to lớn the point that identical forms of author-insert or wish-fulfillment with male characters/writers are rarely noticed or called out, while female characters tover khổng lồ be held to lớn a much higher degree of scrutiny when it comes khổng lồ believable traits và abilities.

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As the joke goes: “What bởi vì you hotline a male Mary Sue? … A protagonist.”

While writing a Mary Sue is often viewed as an amateur move (và, indeed, Mary Sue is frequently used lớn simply suggest an overall poorly-written character, regardless of gender), Smith acknowledges that it is possible for author-insertion in works of fiction khổng lồ be done well. Smith has also agreed with others who clalặng that writing an autobiographical Mary Sue character/story is an inevitable part of the process for new writers attempting fiction.

Although criticism và accusations of writers creating Mary Sue characters/stories have sầu become far more frequent, more defenses have sầu arisen as well. In a lengthy exploration of the term, Elizabeth Minkel writes, “Even detractors admit Mary Sues are about young girls finding their power and agency in a world of fictional landscapes that rarely afford such journeys khổng lồ women.” In an example of how reclaiming the Mary Sue as author-insertion can be empowering, writer Ash Davis explains how she wrote herself, as a woman of color, into lớn her Lord of the Rings fanfiction: “If there were no blachồng people, I made them. If they were tokens, I made them stars. Mary-Sued the shit out of everything. It didn’t matter, you were gonna see me!” Stories lượt thích these và many others illustrate the complexity of the Mary Sue in contemporary fanfiction culture.

People tend lớn associate Mary Sue’s with several character traits. Some have described a Mary Sue almost as a “girl next door”—a character who is near perfect with only slight flaws which make them more endearing. Others focus specifically on characters’ abilities which, if they range too far & are exceptionally svào across the board, tover khổng lồ define a Mary Sue.

Mary Sue has also expanded outside fanfiction khổng lồ label canonical fictional characters. The main heroine of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey, was derided by many as a Mary Sue. Here, Mary Sue is used as a derogatory synonym for any protagonist who is hated or dismissed for their talents và virtues. Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, & Katniss Everdeen are among muốn other famous characters who’ve been called Mary Sues.