Reblogged from daikura January 11, 2013 by clownyprincess

guh

guh


Reblogged from comic-books July 6, 2012 by clownyprincess

comic-books:

Hellboy sketch by Dustin Nguyen. September, 2008.

ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm
wat.
WAT.
WAT.
THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!
You gotta do more Hellboy art.
THE WORLD NEEDS THIS BEAUTY IN ITS LIFE TO BE COMPLETE.

comic-books:

Hellboy sketch by Dustin Nguyen. September, 2008.

ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm

wat.

WAT.

WAT.

THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!

You gotta do more Hellboy art.

THE WORLD NEEDS THIS BEAUTY IN ITS LIFE TO BE COMPLETE.


I was the clown girl holdin' the gun on ya!: three-first-names: Reblog if you DARE someone to write a fic about you...

Reblogged from enasnivolz June 19, 2012

LISTEN, GOD.

I HAVE BEEN NICE AND GENEROUS TO MY NEIGHBOURS. I HAVE WRITTEN NO LESS THAN THREE FANFICTIONS FOR THEM. I EVEN PLAN TO WRITE MORE FOR MORE PEOPLE (YES, FOLLOWERS, YOU READ THAT RIGHT, I AM INDEED PLANNING SUCH A THING).

SO NOW WHERE IS MY HELLBOYXME FANFIC? PLEASE? I’LL BE YOUR BEST FRIEND?


Reblogged from drquinzel February 7, 2012 by clownyprincess

drquinzel:

lilprince:

sweetbabybucky:

I’m tired of people saying that Black Widow’s suit in the film is impractical, thus it’s only there to make her look sexy, so let’s take a look at her suit and Clint’s suit side by side.

As you can see, it’s the same general make. Tight-fitting to promote agility, dark colours to aid stealth, and made to accommodate their personal weapons of choice. The material looks rather similar in both, so I’m assuming the suits give them the same amount of protection.

If we’re going by some sort of exposure factor, Clint’s suit is much more revealing. He’s got a lot more skin showing.

The only difference I’m seeing here is that Natasha has breasts and Clint doesn’t.

So basically, when people call Natasha a slut/kank based on the “flimsy” suit that she’s wearing but see no fault in the fact that Clint is wearing what looks to be very similar materials, all I’m hearing is, “She has boobs, so she must be a slut/skank.”

In short, get the fuck out of my fandom.

I like Widow’s suit. Looks much better than it does in the comics, far more realistic and practical. Seriously, I’m normally the first to point out stupid costumes but this is damn cool.

Preach.


Adventures of Comic Book Girl: Mary Sue, what are you? or why the concept of Sue is sexist

Reblogged from December 31, 2011

hive-of-scum-and-villainy:

clownyprincess:

hive-of-scum-and-villainy:

clownyprincess:

This article must be read! It’s awesome!
What’s really wrong with a thirteen year old girl having a power fantasy, even if it’s badly written?  Who is it hurting?” 

adventuresofcomicbookgirl:

Looks like this essay was needed, so I went ahead and did it. Not sure I said everything I wanted to say, but I tried.

So, there’s this girl. She’s tragically orphaned and richer than anyone on the planet. Every guy she meets falls in love with her, but in between torrid romances she rejects them all because she dedicated to what is Pure and Good. She has genius level intellect, Olympic-athelete level athletic ability and incredible good looks. She is consumed by terrible angst, but this only makes guys want her more. She has no superhuman abilities, yet she is more competent than her superhuman friends and defeats superhumans with ease. She has unshakably loyal friends and allies, despite the fact she treats them pretty badly.  They fear and respect her, and defer to her orders. Everyone is obsessed with her, even her enemies are attracted to her. She can plan ahead for anything and she’s generally right with any conclusion she makes. People who defy her are inevitably wrong.

 God, what a Mary Sue.

I just described Batman.

  Wish fulfillment characters have been around since the beginning of time. The good guys tend to win, get the girl and have everything fall into place for them. It’s only when women started doing it that it became a problem.

TV Tropes on the origin of Mary Sue:

The prototypical Mary Sue is an original female character in a fanfic who obviously serves as an idealized version of the author mainly for the purpose of Wish Fulfillment.

Notice the strange emphasis on female here. TV Tropes goes on to say that is took a long time for the male counterpart “Marty Stu” to be used. “Most fanfic writers are girls” is given as the reason. So when women dominate a genre, that means people are on close watch, ready to scorn any wish fulfillment they may engage in. This term could only originate if the default was female.

 In fact, one of the CONTROVERSIES listed on the TV Tropes page is if a male sue is even possible. That’s right, it’s impossible to have an idealizied male character. Men are already the ideal.

 In our culture, male tends to be the default. Women take on the distaff parts. “Him” and “mankind” are what humanity are, “her” and “womankind” are secondary. Yet this isn’t true for Mary Sue as a term. That name was created first. It was a Star Trek fic that coined it and the female desigination was likely a big reason it caught on. This female is name the default to use when describing idealized characters. Marty Stu and Gary Stu are only to be used if you’re discussing men specifically.  Heck, there isn’t even an agreed upon term for them. So the only time female can be default is when discussing a badly written character, someone who is more powerful or important or liked than they should be allowed to be, someone the plot focuses on more than you would like, someone you don’t want to read about. Hmmm.

 What’s really wrong with a thirteen year old girl having a power fantasy, even if it’s badly written?  Who is it hurting? Men have baldly admitted to writing power fantasies and self inserts since the beginning of time. How many nerdy, schlubby guys suddenly become badasses and have hot girls chasing after them in fiction? See: Spiderman- blatant everyman who happens to  stumble across amazing powers and catch the eye of a supermodel.  Mary Sue is considered the worst insult to throw at a character as it renders them worthless. But since when are idealized characters automatically worthless? Aren’t all heroes idealized in some way? Don’t all heroes represent the author in some way? Aren’t these characters supposed to be people we look up to, people who represent human potential, the goodness that we strive for? Fantasy by nature is idealized, even the tragic ones.

 If you look at the TV Tropes page for Mary Sue, it’s ridiculous. You can be a sue for having too many flaws, or not enough, for fixing things or messing things up, for being a hero or a villain. And of course, this is specifically pointed out as a trope related to the Princess and Magical Girl genres- genres aimed towards women are naturally full of Mary Sues.  Magical girls are powerful and heroic and actually flaunt femininity as a good thing. They are a power fantasy designed for girls. So of course, a girl using traditionally feminine traits to dominate and triumph means she’s a sickeningly pure Mary Sue who makes everything go their way. Feminine traits are disdained and look down on, so when the positive feminine traits are prominent, the reader has an aversive reaction. How can a character be so feminine and triumph? She must be unrealistic, she must be badly written, because everyone knows it is impossible to be feminine and powerful.

 Let’s look at what kinds of Mary Sues people will point to. People will claim a female character is a Mary Sue if she is a love interest. Put a female character within a foot of a male character, and people will scream “Mary Sue!” Why does someone falling in love with her make her a Mary Sue? Well, she hasn’t “earned” this awesome dude character’s love. What has she done to show she’s worthy of him? Fans miss the irony that this line of logic makes the male character seem more like the Sue in Question, as he’s apparently so perfect one has work for his coveted love and praise.

  The idea that woman has to “earn” any power, praise, love, or plot prominence is central to Mary Sue.  Men do not have to do this, they are naturally assumed to be powerful, central and loveable. That’s why it’s the first thing thrown at a female character- what has she done to be given the same consideration as a male character? Why is she suddenly usurping a male role? “Mary Sue” is the easiest way to dismiss a character. It sounds bad to say “I don’t like this female character. I don’t like that this woman is powerful. I don’t like it when the plot focuses on her. I don’t like that a character I like has affections for her.”  But “Mary Sue” is a way to say these things without really saying them. It gives you legitimacy.

 If a character is badly written, there’s generally something much more problematic than idealization going on. The plot will be dull and the character will perpetuate harmful stereotypes while other characters act oddly.  For instance, Bella Swan is one of the only characters I’d even begin to classify as a Mary Sue, yet it’s not really her supposed Mary Sue traits that bother me. I don’t mind that she gets what she wants and everyone loves her, that she’s Meyer’s power fantasy. What I actually mind is that Stephenie Meyer has her perpetuate harmful anti-woman stereotypes- women need to be protected, women are shallow, women’s worth rests in desirability. That’s what’s actually harmful about her and worth discussing. I would criticize that rather than even get to the fact Bella got to be “too perfect and powerful”- that’s just a tiny, insignificant thing not worth mentioning in a huge pile of problems.

 And that’s why I don’t call characters Mary Sue anymore. There’s really nothing bad about a power fantasy or wish fulfillment. It’s what’s fiction’s about.  If one of my characters is called a Sue, I’ll proudly say “yep”, because that must mean that she broke out of that box a female character is supposed to be in.  So I’ll go and say it: I love me some Mary Sues.

Having been a long time reader and writer of fanfiction, I have to admit that I am one of the many who have cried foul upon the Mary Sue, and I also have to say that this article makes some very interesting points that had never occurred to me.

Is the Mary Sue a result of generations’ worth of gender idealizations created by our society? Perhaps. That Batman example was just flooring, and in my heart of hearts I had always suspected Mr. Wayne of sueism, but my bias as a fan would never allow me to say it out loud. That’s not to say I’ve never pointed out his Sue-like tendencies, and when I did this, it was always for the sake of his Rogues, who I appreciate more than he. For in the end, it was always the Rogues who bare the blunt of the inconvenience, having to be defeated time and time again by BatSue.

Anyway, before I get side tracked… these points in the article are very valid, including the stuff about Bella Swan and Meyer’s anti-woman idealization. However, personally, I can’t say that I’ve used the term Mary Sue to dismiss someone’s idealized character.

No, I think what binds all readers who haters of the Sue together is our love and respect of our individual fandoms. Yes, Batman is a power fantasy. Yes, so is Lara Croft. Male or female, the idealization is there. However, when those characters become ingrained into our cultures, the fans will defend them with their very lives if they could. I am inclined to believe that most of us don’t hate Mary Sues because they’re female and idealized, no, we hate them because they are imposing on the fandom and the canon. To me, it reeks of disrespect for the source material.

Now, Mary Sues are not the only aspect of fanfiction that can potentially do this. Canon characters written blatantly out-of-character are also a pet peeve of mine, just as much if not more than Mary Sues. Fanfiction is rife with risk for the reader, and I find myself with buyer’s remorse almost every time I read it, but because I feel there has been harm done to my fandom.

Fanfiction writing, however bad it is, does not harm fandom. The perception that it does is either creator ego, producer profit fear or other fans being waaaaaay over-protective. 

Are there sorts of fanfiction I don’t read? Yes. Is there fanfiction genres (like real person fic and vore) that I personally find distasteful? Yes. Do I dislike and disdain OOC fic? Absolutely. But I don’t think any of this “harms” fandom. Fandoms are typically composed of many different subgroups who band together around the particular aspect of their interest. No one has to participate in the particular aspects that don’t appeal to them, the nice thing about the internet is a new space can always be created for another shared interest, for specific focus and exclusion of others.

Even the most horribly written OOC monstrosity of fanfiction does not harm fandom. Sure, it’s annoying - especially if the fandom sees a surge of popularity that brings in a wave of brand new bad fanfic that’s all the same - but it’s not actually harming the fandom.

Because fandom is not a tangible ‘thing’. It’s a concept. It has no boundaries or limitations except those we as individuals give to it. Fandom is just about people sharing the love of something and, as people do, we find those we relate to and form communities. So fandom can be incredibly diverse and varied. 

Fans who stage hoaxes, pull con scams or fake suicides are far more harmful to fandom than fans who write endless bad fanfic. Fanfiction is a part of fans’ self-gratification and participation in fandom. It’s a way fans express their love and involve themselves in their fandom. Fans ripping off other fans are leeches taking advantage. They contribute nothing, only take. 

I’ve read lots of fanfic that’s better than the source material. Even if fanfiction was ALWAYS all bad, it’s still a legitimate expression of love for a fandom, it’s still a way fans participate and get involved with their fandom, it’s still a valid form of being a contributing fan. BUT some fanfic is actually better than the source material. I have read lots of fanfic I wish were canon. In this way, fanfiction actually enhances fandom because it can provide more stories that are equally as satisfying to other fans as canon material. And, in point of fact, fandoms and prevalent ideas within them, have been noted to influence the source material (XenaxGabby as one example). Source material and the fandom is not a one way street, it’s an exchange. That’s part of why it gets so addicting.

Disrespect to the source material seems a tricky realm to wander into… again, who is it actually hurting? No one has to read it. It is simply a fan wanting to be more involved with the world that inspires their passion. As you noted, it happens in canon too. Why is one more legitimate than another? Those doing it in canon are invariably getting paid for it. Fans don’t.  I don’t think it’s always necessarily a bad thing for fans to add characters into the ‘canon’ through their fanfiction. There’s usually at least one other person out there who has been thinking up the same scenario, wishing to see it. 

I have created no less than five wish-fulfillment characters I have written into different fanfics (oh… except one, who’s just in my head… for the moment…)… and I’ve never made it a secret that that’s what they are. I write the fanfic to insert them into the world and hook up with the character I want to hook up with. And all of these characters and all of these fanfics have uniformly gotten high-reviews and praise. That’s because I take the time to flesh out the character, write the established characters IN character and write a good narrative alongside it. In fact, I am often told in rapturous reviews that my character is “so NOT a Mary Sue!” as a compliment - but these characters are definitely self-inserts. People have drawn fan art and written fan fic about my original characters. And they are self-inserts to cover a wish-fulfillment fantasy. 

I have read other OCs and fanfic they’re in that I think is brilliant and wish could be canon. It can definitely happen. 

Eh, I’ve kinda lost track of where I’m going with this. Anyway I’m sure we can continue to have a cool discussion on the topic if you wanna. XD

Definitely! This topic is so interesting to me, and I’m happy to hear your input! =D

As I asked myself earlier, what is it exactly to hurt a fandom? Now that I’m considering the points you’ve just made, I think I can give somewhat of a clear answer. Hopefully.

In the case of fanfiction, I believe you may be right in that a fandom is not something concrete or physical that can be hurt. When someone, such as myself, interprets a fanfiction as being bad enough to hurt a fandom, I believe I should be more specific and say that a fanfiction can hurt a fandom for me personally, or rather, personally for whoever happens to be offended by it. That story won’t offend everyone of course, but oftentimes fans themselves become divided by their differing opinions, and that can be reflected in fanfiction just as much as an online community where a debate about a comic book is occurring. Our perceptions of the things we like are naturally different from the perceptions of others, and that’s okay. No, this doesn’t hurt fandoms or fans, I don’t think.

So what do I mean exactly by a bad fanfic? Actually, I think this should extend more broadly, because fanfiction is a sub-category of fiction, as you had pointed out. I think I’m more offended by the lack of structure in a piece of writing or storytelling than I am of a character who can be credited as being wish fulfillment for an author. The OP wonderfully stated that any character can be interpreted as such, Batman being the main example that was used. An author writing someone like Batman however, wouldn’t be able to present that character to what I believe can be it’s fullest potential if that author is lacking basic writing disciplines, such as character development and plot structure. A character as wonderful as Batman would inevitably be called a Sue, I think, because of his presentation.

In the end, I’d like to see quality writing be encouraged more on communities like fanfiction.net. You’re absolutely right, there are great stories out there with great characters, but as a writer and reader of fanfiction I find myself often disillusioned by what I perceive to be the great inequality between well written stories and well, the opposite. I’d like to one day say I didn’t particularly enjoy the story not because of the atrocious grammar, or other lack of writing conventions, but because I didn’t particularly take a liking to a character, in spite of the fact of that the character was well written and developed.

I’d like to look at a well developed character and say, “Okay, I don’t really relate to this particular brand of wish fulfillment,” without having to say as such because of any lack of characterization. I think a good example might be that I don’t actually take very much liking to Batman as a character, but I won’t deny that he is often makes a story compelling and it well written and developed by many different authors.

I’m definitely enjoying this discussion! =D

Also, I wasn’t aware fake suicides and other such scams have been pulled by “fans.” That’s pretty shocking. I mean, I’m familiar with hosts of conventions pulling some scammy stuff, having worked for comic books vendors myself, but wow, that’s pretty shocking… that definitely can bring harm to a fandom, or fans specifically.

Hmmmm, I mean, I get what you’re saying on one level with regards to desiring an overall rise in quality to fanfiction - but, really, like - why? Again, fanfiction is just for fans to pursue as a self-indulgent hobby. I don’t see that it has any obligation or need to be “quality” or that there’s any imperative to improve it as an activity. Not even from the perspective of destigmatising it to outsiders. People who disdain fanfiction generally are people who piss on fans for anything we do - the same kind of people who say cosplayers are losers and owning the entire series of Buffy and all the tie-in comics have no life, etc. 

Does a bad fanfiction REALLY harm the fandom for you, though? I mean… really? Look, bad fanfiction is tiresome and irritating but… I don’t have to read it. I can just move on. It’s still really not hurting anyone. It’s occupying space, making it difficult to find the good stuff? Sure… but fandom is for everyone AND fans have already tackled this issue by creating recommendation systems/communities and the practice of beta-reading. It only takes a little searching to find communities where quality fanfic is archived or recommended. And even the most immature, unskilled writer can grow in leaps and bounds through writing fanfiction and that does come to both the practice that fanfic writing allows and community cooperation on the front of editing and recc’ing and working together.  I know my own writing skills improved immeasurably through writing fanfiction. 

Bad fanfic really doesn’t have any lingering impact on anyone’s life and if it does… maybe that individual is taking it all a bit too seriously? I used to LOVE God Awful Fanfiction when it was all about just the pointing and laughing - but then it got taken over by a bunch of fanjerks who thought it was their Holy Mission to have every piece of bad fanfic stricken from the internet… and that’s just fucked. To me, it’s kinda the same thing as policing the way kids on a playground will play make-believe. Just not cool!

And I DO get that it’s annoying to have so much badfic that’s nonsensical or ill-through through, or cliched, or hackneyed, or semi-literate or whatever… but, without intending any offence, I also feel it’s kinda entitled to want to see that change for your own benefit. Okay, so maybe you have to spend some more time wading through the shit to find the good stuff… but so what? It still doesn’t really hurt anyone. Really, it’s no different to finding a book or a television show or a movie that you want to read/watch… SO MUCH CRAP that makes it through the numerous filters of editors, producers, publishers, etc… but we still do it. Because there’s all kinds of tastes and needs and desires and creative urges… It’s the same for fandom! 

Frankly… the only kind of fanfiction I would say GENUINELY hurts fandom… is fanfiction that normalises prejudices. Because, just as in the wider community, the reinforcement and repetition of prejudice further entrenches it in people’s mind and attitudes. I would MUCH rather have a fandom full of poorly edited cliched predictable wish-fulfillment self-insertion stories than brilliantly written, carefully-plotted pieces that are racist or homophobic or misogynistic. And that kinda stuff DOES happen in fandom. I am far more upset to see a fanfic author write another offensive sex-worker stereotype than to see another Mary Sue fic. 

I mean, if I were really going to let my crazy shine on bright, then I’d AVOW that fiction that depicts Joker & Harley’s relationship as anything other than mutual and awesome is HARMING FANDOM. There’s a part of me that WANTS TO because I AM a passionate, devoted fan. But… too bad, so sad, I suck it up because people have different opinions on that and though it might annoy me no end that some fans might not ship JokerxHarley, it doesn’t actually HURT me or harms the fandom, not really. I don’t have to read their stuff and they don’t have to read mine. They form their groups and we form ours. And it’s all okay. I also really, really HATE out-of-character fic… uggghhh, I hate it. But still - it’s not hurting me. It’s just fans doing what they gotta to feed their own fandom passion. I can disagree with it, but there’s no finite boundaries to fandom, there’s room for everyone.

BUT, if I read fanfiction that presented Batman & Joker as heinous, fetishised, homophobic gay stereotypes (and I have), then you bet your bottom dollar I’ll hit that thing up with some harsh feedback. Because other people will READ THAT and think “GAY PEOPLE ARE ALL LIKE THIS!” And THAT hurts fandom, because oppressions and discriminations play out in fandom dynamics and interactions because it’s a community of mixed people, same as the rest of society. 

But a badly-written Mary Sue fic? Let’s face it… they don’t get a high readership anyway. So, in the end, big deal. Let the fans have their fun. It really is not harmful, not in the broader scheme of things.

(Source: ladyloveandjustice)


Adventures of Comic Book Girl: Mary Sue, what are you? or why the concept of Sue is sexist

Reblogged from December 31, 2011

hive-of-scum-and-villainy:

clownyprincess:

This article must be read! It’s awesome!
What’s really wrong with a thirteen year old girl having a power fantasy, even if it’s badly written?  Who is it hurting?” 

adventuresofcomicbookgirl:

Looks like this essay was needed, so I went ahead and did it. Not sure I said everything I wanted to say, but I tried.

So, there’s this girl. She’s tragically orphaned and richer than anyone on the planet. Every guy she meets falls in love with her, but in between torrid romances she rejects them all because she dedicated to what is Pure and Good. She has genius level intellect, Olympic-athelete level athletic ability and incredible good looks. She is consumed by terrible angst, but this only makes guys want her more. She has no superhuman abilities, yet she is more competent than her superhuman friends and defeats superhumans with ease. She has unshakably loyal friends and allies, despite the fact she treats them pretty badly.  They fear and respect her, and defer to her orders. Everyone is obsessed with her, even her enemies are attracted to her. She can plan ahead for anything and she’s generally right with any conclusion she makes. People who defy her are inevitably wrong.

 God, what a Mary Sue.

I just described Batman.

  Wish fulfillment characters have been around since the beginning of time. The good guys tend to win, get the girl and have everything fall into place for them. It’s only when women started doing it that it became a problem.

TV Tropes on the origin of Mary Sue:

The prototypical Mary Sue is an original female character in a fanfic who obviously serves as an idealized version of the author mainly for the purpose of Wish Fulfillment.

Notice the strange emphasis on female here. TV Tropes goes on to say that is took a long time for the male counterpart “Marty Stu” to be used. “Most fanfic writers are girls” is given as the reason. So when women dominate a genre, that means people are on close watch, ready to scorn any wish fulfillment they may engage in. This term could only originate if the default was female.

 In fact, one of the CONTROVERSIES listed on the TV Tropes page is if a male sue is even possible. That’s right, it’s impossible to have an idealizied male character. Men are already the ideal.

 In our culture, male tends to be the default. Women take on the distaff parts. “Him” and “mankind” are what humanity are, “her” and “womankind” are secondary. Yet this isn’t true for Mary Sue as a term. That name was created first. It was a Star Trek fic that coined it and the female desigination was likely a big reason it caught on. This female is name the default to use when describing idealized characters. Marty Stu and Gary Stu are only to be used if you’re discussing men specifically.  Heck, there isn’t even an agreed upon term for them. So the only time female can be default is when discussing a badly written character, someone who is more powerful or important or liked than they should be allowed to be, someone the plot focuses on more than you would like, someone you don’t want to read about. Hmmm.

 What’s really wrong with a thirteen year old girl having a power fantasy, even if it’s badly written?  Who is it hurting? Men have baldly admitted to writing power fantasies and self inserts since the beginning of time. How many nerdy, schlubby guys suddenly become badasses and have hot girls chasing after them in fiction? See: Spiderman- blatant everyman who happens to  stumble across amazing powers and catch the eye of a supermodel.  Mary Sue is considered the worst insult to throw at a character as it renders them worthless. But since when are idealized characters automatically worthless? Aren’t all heroes idealized in some way? Don’t all heroes represent the author in some way? Aren’t these characters supposed to be people we look up to, people who represent human potential, the goodness that we strive for? Fantasy by nature is idealized, even the tragic ones.

 If you look at the TV Tropes page for Mary Sue, it’s ridiculous. You can be a sue for having too many flaws, or not enough, for fixing things or messing things up, for being a hero or a villain. And of course, this is specifically pointed out as a trope related to the Princess and Magical Girl genres- genres aimed towards women are naturally full of Mary Sues.  Magical girls are powerful and heroic and actually flaunt femininity as a good thing. They are a power fantasy designed for girls. So of course, a girl using traditionally feminine traits to dominate and triumph means she’s a sickeningly pure Mary Sue who makes everything go their way. Feminine traits are disdained and look down on, so when the positive feminine traits are prominent, the reader has an aversive reaction. How can a character be so feminine and triumph? She must be unrealistic, she must be badly written, because everyone knows it is impossible to be feminine and powerful.

 Let’s look at what kinds of Mary Sues people will point to. People will claim a female character is a Mary Sue if she is a love interest. Put a female character within a foot of a male character, and people will scream “Mary Sue!” Why does someone falling in love with her make her a Mary Sue? Well, she hasn’t “earned” this awesome dude character’s love. What has she done to show she’s worthy of him? Fans miss the irony that this line of logic makes the male character seem more like the Sue in Question, as he’s apparently so perfect one has work for his coveted love and praise.

  The idea that woman has to “earn” any power, praise, love, or plot prominence is central to Mary Sue.  Men do not have to do this, they are naturally assumed to be powerful, central and loveable. That’s why it’s the first thing thrown at a female character- what has she done to be given the same consideration as a male character? Why is she suddenly usurping a male role? “Mary Sue” is the easiest way to dismiss a character. It sounds bad to say “I don’t like this female character. I don’t like that this woman is powerful. I don’t like it when the plot focuses on her. I don’t like that a character I like has affections for her.”  But “Mary Sue” is a way to say these things without really saying them. It gives you legitimacy.

 If a character is badly written, there’s generally something much more problematic than idealization going on. The plot will be dull and the character will perpetuate harmful stereotypes while other characters act oddly.  For instance, Bella Swan is one of the only characters I’d even begin to classify as a Mary Sue, yet it’s not really her supposed Mary Sue traits that bother me. I don’t mind that she gets what she wants and everyone loves her, that she’s Meyer’s power fantasy. What I actually mind is that Stephenie Meyer has her perpetuate harmful anti-woman stereotypes- women need to be protected, women are shallow, women’s worth rests in desirability. That’s what’s actually harmful about her and worth discussing. I would criticize that rather than even get to the fact Bella got to be “too perfect and powerful”- that’s just a tiny, insignificant thing not worth mentioning in a huge pile of problems.

 And that’s why I don’t call characters Mary Sue anymore. There’s really nothing bad about a power fantasy or wish fulfillment. It’s what’s fiction’s about.  If one of my characters is called a Sue, I’ll proudly say “yep”, because that must mean that she broke out of that box a female character is supposed to be in.  So I’ll go and say it: I love me some Mary Sues.

Having been a long time reader and writer of fanfiction, I have to admit that I am one of the many who have cried foul upon the Mary Sue, and I also have to say that this article makes some very interesting points that had never occurred to me.

Is the Mary Sue a result of generations’ worth of gender idealizations created by our society? Perhaps. That Batman example was just flooring, and in my heart of hearts I had always suspected Mr. Wayne of sueism, but my bias as a fan would never allow me to say it out loud. That’s not to say I’ve never pointed out his Sue-like tendencies, and when I did this, it was always for the sake of his Rogues, who I appreciate more than he. For in the end, it was always the Rogues who bare the blunt of the inconvenience, having to be defeated time and time again by BatSue.

Anyway, before I get side tracked… these points in the article are very valid, including the stuff about Bella Swan and Meyer’s anti-woman idealization. However, personally, I can’t say that I’ve used the term Mary Sue to dismiss someone’s idealized character.

No, I think what binds all readers who haters of the Sue together is our love and respect of our individual fandoms. Yes, Batman is a power fantasy. Yes, so is Lara Croft. Male or female, the idealization is there. However, when those characters become ingrained into our cultures, the fans will defend them with their very lives if they could. I am inclined to believe that most of us don’t hate Mary Sues because they’re female and idealized, no, we hate them because they are imposing on the fandom and the canon. To me, it reeks of disrespect for the source material.

Now, Mary Sues are not the only aspect of fanfiction that can potentially do this. Canon characters written blatantly out-of-character are also a pet peeve of mine, just as much if not more than Mary Sues. Fanfiction is rife with risk for the reader, and I find myself with buyer’s remorse almost every time I read it, but because I feel there has been harm done to my fandom.

Fanfiction writing, however bad it is, does not harm fandom. The perception that it does is either creator ego, producer profit fear or other fans being waaaaaay over-protective. 

Are there sorts of fanfiction I don’t read? Yes. Is there fanfiction genres (like real person fic and vore) that I personally find distasteful? Yes. Do I dislike and disdain OOC fic? Absolutely. But I don’t think any of this “harms” fandom. Fandoms are typically composed of many different subgroups who band together around the particular aspect of their interest. No one has to participate in the particular aspects that don’t appeal to them, the nice thing about the internet is a new space can always be created for another shared interest, for specific focus and exclusion of others.

Even the most horribly written OOC monstrosity of fanfiction does not harm fandom. Sure, it’s annoying - especially if the fandom sees a surge of popularity that brings in a wave of brand new bad fanfic that’s all the same - but it’s not actually harming the fandom.

Because fandom is not a tangible ‘thing’. It’s a concept. It has no boundaries or limitations except those we as individuals give to it. Fandom is just about people sharing the love of something and, as people do, we find those we relate to and form communities. So fandom can be incredibly diverse and varied. 

Fans who stage hoaxes, pull con scams or fake suicides are far more harmful to fandom than fans who write endless bad fanfic. Fanfiction is a part of fans’ self-gratification and participation in fandom. It’s a way fans express their love and involve themselves in their fandom. Fans ripping off other fans are leeches taking advantage. They contribute nothing, only take. 

I’ve read lots of fanfic that’s better than the source material. Even if fanfiction was ALWAYS all bad, it’s still a legitimate expression of love for a fandom, it’s still a way fans participate and get involved with their fandom, it’s still a valid form of being a contributing fan. BUT some fanfic is actually better than the source material. I have read lots of fanfic I wish were canon. In this way, fanfiction actually enhances fandom because it can provide more stories that are equally as satisfying to other fans as canon material. And, in point of fact, fandoms and prevalent ideas within them, have been noted to influence the source material (XenaxGabby as one example). Source material and the fandom is not a one way street, it’s an exchange. That’s part of why it gets so addicting.

Disrespect to the source material seems a tricky realm to wander into… again, who is it actually hurting? No one has to read it. It is simply a fan wanting to be more involved with the world that inspires their passion. As you noted, it happens in canon too. Why is one more legitimate than another? Those doing it in canon are invariably getting paid for it. Fans don’t.  I don’t think it’s always necessarily a bad thing for fans to add characters into the ‘canon’ through their fanfiction. There’s usually at least one other person out there who has been thinking up the same scenario, wishing to see it. 

I have created no less than five wish-fulfillment characters I have written into different fanfics (oh… except one, who’s just in my head… for the moment…)… and I’ve never made it a secret that that’s what they are. I write the fanfic to insert them into the world and hook up with the character I want to hook up with. And all of these characters and all of these fanfics have uniformly gotten high-reviews and praise. That’s because I take the time to flesh out the character, write the established characters IN character and write a good narrative alongside it. In fact, I am often told in rapturous reviews that my character is “so NOT a Mary Sue!” as a compliment - but these characters are definitely self-inserts. People have drawn fan art and written fan fic about my original characters. And they are self-inserts to cover a wish-fulfillment fantasy. 

I have read other OCs and fanfic they’re in that I think is brilliant and wish could be canon. It can definitely happen. 

Eh, I’ve kinda lost track of where I’m going with this. Anyway I’m sure we can continue to have a cool discussion on the topic if you wanna. XD

(Source: ladyloveandjustice)


Adventures of Comic Book Girl: Mary Sue, what are you? or why the concept of Sue is sexist

Reblogged from ladyloveandjustice December 30, 2011

This article must be read! It’s awesome!
What’s really wrong with a thirteen year old girl having a power fantasy, even if it’s badly written?  Who is it hurting?” 

adventuresofcomicbookgirl:

Looks like this essay was needed, so I went ahead and did it. Not sure I said everything I wanted to say, but I tried.

So, there’s this girl. She’s tragically orphaned and richer than anyone on the planet. Every guy she meets falls in love with her, but in between torrid romances she rejects them all because she dedicated to what is Pure and Good. She has genius level intellect, Olympic-athelete level athletic ability and incredible good looks. She is consumed by terrible angst, but this only makes guys want her more. She has no superhuman abilities, yet she is more competent than her superhuman friends and defeats superhumans with ease. She has unshakably loyal friends and allies, despite the fact she treats them pretty badly.  They fear and respect her, and defer to her orders. Everyone is obsessed with her, even her enemies are attracted to her. She can plan ahead for anything and she’s generally right with any conclusion she makes. People who defy her are inevitably wrong.

 God, what a Mary Sue.

I just described Batman.

  Wish fulfillment characters have been around since the beginning of time. The good guys tend to win, get the girl and have everything fall into place for them. It’s only when women started doing it that it became a problem.

TV Tropes on the origin of Mary Sue:

The prototypical Mary Sue is an original female character in a fanfic who obviously serves as an idealized version of the author mainly for the purpose of Wish Fulfillment.

Notice the strange emphasis on female here. TV Tropes goes on to say that is took a long time for the male counterpart “Marty Stu” to be used. “Most fanfic writers are girls” is given as the reason. So when women dominate a genre, that means people are on close watch, ready to scorn any wish fulfillment they may engage in. This term could only originate if the default was female.

 In fact, one of the CONTROVERSIES listed on the TV Tropes page is if a male sue is even possible. That’s right, it’s impossible to have an idealizied male character. Men are already the ideal.

 In our culture, male tends to be the default. Women take on the distaff parts. “Him” and “mankind” are what humanity are, “her” and “womankind” are secondary. Yet this isn’t true for Mary Sue as a term. That name was created first. It was a Star Trek fic that coined it and the female desigination was likely a big reason it caught on. This female is name the default to use when describing idealized characters. Marty Stu and Gary Stu are only to be used if you’re discussing men specifically.  Heck, there isn’t even an agreed upon term for them. So the only time female can be default is when discussing a badly written character, someone who is more powerful or important or liked than they should be allowed to be, someone the plot focuses on more than you would like, someone you don’t want to read about. Hmmm.

 What’s really wrong with a thirteen year old girl having a power fantasy, even if it’s badly written?  Who is it hurting? Men have baldly admitted to writing power fantasies and self inserts since the beginning of time. How many nerdy, schlubby guys suddenly become badasses and have hot girls chasing after them in fiction? See: Spiderman- blatant everyman who happens to  stumble across amazing powers and catch the eye of a supermodel.  Mary Sue is considered the worst insult to throw at a character as it renders them worthless. But since when are idealized characters automatically worthless? Aren’t all heroes idealized in some way? Don’t all heroes represent the author in some way? Aren’t these characters supposed to be people we look up to, people who represent human potential, the goodness that we strive for? Fantasy by nature is idealized, even the tragic ones.

 If you look at the TV Tropes page for Mary Sue, it’s ridiculous. You can be a sue for having too many flaws, or not enough, for fixing things or messing things up, for being a hero or a villain. And of course, this is specifically pointed out as a trope related to the Princess and Magical Girl genres- genres aimed towards women are naturally full of Mary Sues.  Magical girls are powerful and heroic and actually flaunt femininity as a good thing. They are a power fantasy designed for girls. So of course, a girl using traditionally feminine traits to dominate and triumph means she’s a sickeningly pure Mary Sue who makes everything go their way. Feminine traits are disdained and look down on, so when the positive feminine traits are prominent, the reader has an aversive reaction. How can a character be so feminine and triumph? She must be unrealistic, she must be badly written, because everyone knows it is impossible to be feminine and powerful.

 Let’s look at what kinds of Mary Sues people will point to. People will claim a female character is a Mary Sue if she is a love interest. Put a female character within a foot of a male character, and people will scream “Mary Sue!” Why does someone falling in love with her make her a Mary Sue? Well, she hasn’t “earned” this awesome dude character’s love. What has she done to show she’s worthy of him? Fans miss the irony that this line of logic makes the male character seem more like the Sue in Question, as he’s apparently so perfect one has work for his coveted love and praise.

  The idea that woman has to “earn” any power, praise, love, or plot prominence is central to Mary Sue.  Men do not have to do this, they are naturally assumed to be powerful, central and loveable. That’s why it’s the first thing thrown at a female character- what has she done to be given the same consideration as a male character? Why is she suddenly usurping a male role? “Mary Sue” is the easiest way to dismiss a character. It sounds bad to say “I don’t like this female character. I don’t like that this woman is powerful. I don’t like it when the plot focuses on her. I don’t like that a character I like has affections for her.”  But “Mary Sue” is a way to say these things without really saying them. It gives you legitimacy.

 If a character is badly written, there’s generally something much more problematic than idealization going on. The plot will be dull and the character will perpetuate harmful stereotypes while other characters act oddly.  For instance, Bella Swan is one of the only characters I’d even begin to classify as a Mary Sue, yet it’s not really her supposed Mary Sue traits that bother me. I don’t mind that she gets what she wants and everyone loves her, that she’s Meyer’s power fantasy. What I actually mind is that Stephenie Meyer has her perpetuate harmful anti-woman stereotypes- women need to be protected, women are shallow, women’s worth rests in desirability. That’s what’s actually harmful about her and worth discussing. I would criticize that rather than even get to the fact Bella got to be “too perfect and powerful”- that’s just a tiny, insignificant thing not worth mentioning in a huge pile of problems.

 And that’s why I don’t call characters Mary Sue anymore. There’s really nothing bad about a power fantasy or wish fulfillment. It’s what’s fiction’s about.  If one of my characters is called a Sue, I’ll proudly say “yep”, because that must mean that she broke out of that box a female character is supposed to be in.  So I’ll go and say it: I love me some Mary Sues.