coatpocketjaffacakes replied to your post: actually maybe batman is why it got reblogged so much
you should make a comprehensive list of male mary sues. Like Batman, that guy from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Dream from Sandman, James Bond (oh heavens James Bond) and so on.
but I don’t really think the fact Mary Sue is a sexist and rotten concept deserves more justifying on my part :). The fact is, any male character is going to be held to different standards than a female one. His central role and any shades of self-insertion will be ignored and loved, while a female character has to justify any centrality or competence. I could pick any male character, and they will be held to different standard than a corresponding lady, regardless of whether both or which ones are flat characters. Making a list doesn’t seem right to me, because it’s subjective and my dish with the label is that it means nothing.
There are tons of male charas who could be self-inserts and flat, overpowered characters- but if i do a list like that, peoople might misunderstand what I’m saying-they’ll go “BUT JAMES BOND IS NOT A MARY SUE he has THIS FLAW!” (that’s what happened with Batman) and that’s not the point- the point is powerful, competent, self-inserty male characters are celebrated while women are held to a different standard, and the Mary Sue concept is inherently gendered because “male Mary Sue” has to be specified. I’m not here to criticize these male characters, but rather point out how this label condemns women over men, and there’s nothing inherently bad about wish fulfillment, wish fulfillment characters can be well done- but when women do it, they get targeted with this label that really means nothing other than “I don’t like this character and think she gets too much attention”
Saying “James Bond is a Mary Sue” tells me nothing, because the label means nothing. Saying “James Bond is overpowered, every girl he meets wants to sleep with him and he’s just static and obviously the authors fantasy of ideal masculinity, which is problematic since that ideal is acted out in a way that glorifies violence and sexual domination of women” that tells me something- that at least says something and is harder to argue with. The reason Mary Sue is useful to people is it’s a convenient label to stick on female characters so you don’t really have to justify your hatred of powerful women or women exploring their own wish fulfillment. So listing guy Mary Sues just kinda props up that label and the way it defaults to girl, because it reads as “these are the exceptions”.
“Bella Swan is a Mary Sue”= not throughtful critique. “Bella Swan has no real goals or character before she meets Edward, after this her character and world becomes defined by a man, she is characterized as easily getting everything she wants because she’s passively attractive to men which is problematic and dull, and then she becomes superhumanly beautiful and unaging with little struggle- this shallow perfection is therefore constructed as the ideal and easy reward for being passive and feminine, and teaches girls if they are attractive they don’t need personalities or goals outside a man and can get everyone to love them and ridiculous rewards with no change on their part or effort whatsover”
that’s much better and clearer communication, and doesn’t skirt the line of “it sucks that Bella got what she wanted and got poweful, instead of being punished and weak at the end like female characters usually are”
tl;dr i’m just done with term altogether, it’s useless and sexist no matter what gender you apply it to.