The other week, while on vacation, I reposted an old blog post about Mary Sues. Today, I read an interesting post by Zoe Marriott on the same subject, but taking it to a new level I hadn’t previously considered: namely, that many critics’ dislike of Mary Sue characters, as they call them, is actually a dislike of female characters in general.
Personally, I was struck by how much of an assumption calling a character a “Mary Sue” actually is, considering the initial meaning of the term as a stand-in for the author.
In any case, Ms. Marriott has a great checklist on her post of what a true Mary Sue character actually is, and urges critics and reviewers to check against it before they bust out the label on every hapless female character they take a personal aversion to. However, I still believe it to be a helpful shorthand in describing characters like Bella Swan, to use Ms. Marriott’s example.
What’s your opinion?