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  1. Drusilla
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    Drusilla Active Member

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    Mary-Sue- sexist?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Drusilla, Mar 27, 2011.

    I have noticed that people are faster to say Mary-Sue to a female character than to any male character. I know there are some characters (mostly from fan fiction) who qualify as "Mary-Sues/Gary-Stus", but I really react to how people judge female character harsher than the male counterparts. I haven't come across many people who call James Bond a Mary-Sue, but I have heard many people calling female characters who show intelligence, independence and self worth Mary-Sues. Why can't a woman be smarter than her male friends, without being called a Mary-Sue? Why can't a woman "know the answer to the problem" when a male character can do the same thing without being labeled a Gary-Stu?

    I am not for sparkly characters who are adored and worshipped by everyone, even the enemies, but I put the same standards to men as I do to women. While a male character can save the world, a female character can also do.
     
  2. Vamp_fan22
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    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

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    Dude, Edward Cullen is the epitome of a Gary Stue. And what about Anne Rice who goes on for like 3 pages about how gorgeous Lestat is? (I really love Lestat but come on! We get it Anne Rice he's gorgeous)
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    And Harry Potter.

    I mean I love the books/movies but come on.
     
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  4. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    Nicely put, Vamp_fan22.

    The reason for people using "Mary Sue" more often than "Gary Stu" isn't really because of sexism as much as it's because Mary-Sues are just so much easier to spot. If you find that a character is able to do whatever she wants and gets whatever she wants (along with the baggage of being so beautiful it's a sin and having a half-baked backstory riddled with hardships that are badly told), then there is no doubt that this is a Mary-Sue. I agree, you don't find as many male characters being called such a thing, but it doesn't have to do with sexism- it has to do with the fact that not as many guys live through their main character and use them as a mouthpiece (though there are a few...)

    I can see where you're coming from, but I don't think it's really sexism. Blame all the Mary Sue claims on bad fanfiction and poor character design that female characters are subjected to.
     
  5. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    The Gary Stu is probably just an older cliche, or at least we're more used to them. While Mary Sues aren't up to most people's taste, the spear counterpart is kind of what we're trained to expect.

    Action heroes, Super heroes, Soldiers who survive a battle while still being brave...

    Actually, considering that being masculine could be a Sue trait... I can't think of a really good "tell" for a Stu would be. (Comfortable enough with his feelings to show a proper range and still be manly?)
     
  6. Drusilla
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    Drusilla Active Member

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    I am not more "trained to accept" Gary-Stus than Mary-Sues. Even if most people are trained to accept Gary-Stus, there should be no excuses for judging female characters differently. It is just like locking oneself inside the past and not wanting to see that the world is changing. I feel that the world needs strong female characters, but they (as their male counterparts) need to be well written.

    In fact, the world needs all kinds of characters........
     
  7. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Traditionally, female characters are not as assertive or aggressive (though I would not say that they aren't "strong", because different eras and cultures may think that being "strong" or "not strong" requires different things), so writers may feel that they have to compensate for this by making female characters that are too perfectly assertive or good at things.

    In other words, I feel that it's just trying to compensate too hard for a perceived lack of strength in female characters seen in old stories, which is why people would react more strongly when they see overly perfect female characters.

    Something like that... I think I'm rambling.


    Also, the thing is, since a lot of fanfiction is written by girls (or at least so I've heard), that means a lot of fanfiction is filled with Mary Sues, and, thus, by extension, there is a lot more talk on the internet about Mary Sues more than there is outside the internet, I think.

    To be honest, in my experiences, the term "Mary Sue" hasn't been used to overtly disfavor (or favor) one gender or the other, and it's just sort of a catch-all term for overly perfect characters. On the internet, however, I get a sense that things are a bit different. Well, at least that's what my experience tells me.
     
  8. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Jack London (in the few books I have read of him at least) is a master of Gary-Stues. Even when he's trying to put them in a bad light, it still comes off as "poor him who suffer of no fault of his own".
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well my MarySue is a seven-year-old boy.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Once again, a Mary Sue (Gary Stu) is NOT merely an annoyingly perfect character. A Mary Sue is a surrogate for the author to live out a personal fantasy of experiencing the story's setting.

    Wesley Crusher of Star Trek: The Next Generation is a Mary Sue to indulge Eugene Wesley Roddenberry's fantasy of growing up as a Starfleet cadet.

    It has to be one of the most misused terms in writing.
     
  11. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    What would my Sues be called properly, then? Both of my stories about real world people that get sucked into their telelvisions are "wake up and smell the danger" fics.

    If they were really avatars for my personal fantasy, then I must be really messed up in the head. One was a hammering lesson in how much it would suck to go on that type of adventure, the other one starts with that lesson and adds other themes. Yes, I loaned my appearance to one, but that was more out of laziness.

    Not to mention the way I treat my Sues. The latest one doesn't resemble me, and is only called a Sue because she's from the real world and has reality-distorting powers. She lacks the other markers, and I treat her as the story dictates.
     

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