Timestamp — 4/7/2017
I’m writing this post with the assumption most people know what a mary sue is. If you don’t, check out this post that sums it up better than I can . . .
So a couple weeks ago, I was watching one of my favorite sci fi films Enemy Mine (I would still love to read the book one day) and I got to the part at the end, and it occurred to me that Davidge winning the day all by himself was really, really unlikely, especially after all the evidence we had previously been presented of him being a shitty soldier.
I’m not trashing this film because I love it and I honestly don’t care if Davidge is a “mary sue.” The fact of the matter is, most male protagonists are easily “mary sues” because they are power fantasies specifically built for a male audience to self-insert.
The “mary sue” crap became sexist because misogynists decided to use it as a way to mock women for doing the same thing.
Sometimes I wonder if my books benefit from the fact that I tend to avoid creating power fantasy characters. I enjoy writing characters so real, they could live next door to you.
Rigg from The Thieves of Nottica is not a power fantasy but was meant to be a realistic person (setting aside the alien shapeshifting) who still triumphs in the end and beats the odds. The same goes for Thalcu in The Harvest, and pretty much all my characters.
And I wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing because most people read genre fiction to escape and, therefore, expect to be able to self-insert themselves on power fantasy protagonists.
Ah well. I don’t write to please, I write what I want.
This post is about how I came to the conclusion that Davidge is actually a “mary sue” — or at least would be called such if male characters were ever criticized on the same level as female characters.
Before proceeding, turn your sarcasm detector on. Is it on? You’ll need it for the rest of this post.