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"It’s-A Me, Mary Sue: Why She’s An Important Figure For Fanfic And Fangirls" by Sam Maggs

Maybe part of the reason we hate reading Mary Sue fics now is because they remind us of the very first fics we ever wrote as teenagers (admit it, we’ve all written a Mary Sue fic or seven). While it’s true that a large number of Sues are written by first-time ficcers, the fic community might want to consider helping new writers grow through constructive criticism instead of off-handedly dismissing the fic as a Sue. All other characters in fic are subject to personal scrutiny, so why not leave detailed notes about what could improve the story beyond “Oh, she’s a Mary Sue?” Suggest the need for growth in the main character; a more conflicted love story; better female friendships. Don’t forget, we were all that first-time fic writer once! Being too dismissive of Mary Sues also discourages girls from writing strong, original female characters, and that’s the last thing we need in fiction. Also – it might be worth questioning why we suddenly become so embarrassed about a character that’s basically just a perfect, super-beloved version of us.

Because the Sue is always “perfect,” what exactly makes us hate her so much? Is it that she doesn’t have any flaws? Or that she has the wrong kinds of flaws? Or too many flaws? That she cries all the time and needs to be comforted? That she’s incredibly-powerful and no one can defy her? Is it that she’s way too nice to everyone? Or she’s the most anti-establishment of all the angsty girls on the scene? I’ve seen Sues dismissed for all of these reasons, which honestly makes it seem like we’re just dismissing all original female characters outright. The Sue breaks women out of the nice corner in which lady characters often exist in fiction, and that makes people uncomfortable. Let’s not be those people, okay?

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