On Rey and Mary Sue and FORCE AWAKENS and Twitter and fanfic and awesome

ReyTFA.jpgThe following chunk of paragraph, which does not itself actually contain any spoilers, appears in my spoiler review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens:

Hello, Daisy Ridley!  Lemme be clear here: Rey is the best thing about this movie.  Period.  She is my favorite Star Wars character.  She is so awesome that she borders on being a Mary Sue.  Hell, she probably is a Mary Sue.  I just don’t care.

It is clear, I hope, that I have an enormous amount of enthusiasm for this character, and she is never described in anything less than glowing terms throughout the review, or the non-spoiler one that came before it.  I was rather taken aback yesterday afternoon to discover a raging argument happening on Twitter about whether or not Rey was a Mary Sue, and about all the sexist assholes who were describing her as such.

Here’s the thing: I had looked up the term before I used it, because it’s not something I say a lot.  And other than not finding herself in a romantic relationship with the more-famous male leads, she fits.  She’s literally incredibly good at everything she does throughout the entire movie.  Do I care?  No, not a bit, and if you want it a bit more clear why I’d suggest you read the spoiler review, as I don’t intend to be spoilery here.

But yeah.  Twitter was mad, and a certain subset of Twitter who I try to listen to very carefully before/if deciding that they’re wrong (I try to be careful, as a man, about deciding “nope, I’m not being a sexist here, and the women are wrong”) was mad too.


And my answer to that was no, yes, yes, and who? in that order, and furthermore I don’t really have any ego bound up in this term.  Call whoever you want a Mary Sue.  I might debate you on it a bit, but I ain’t gonna get mad about it.  Luke, for example?  Nah, at least not in ANH; he’s whiny and gets his butt kicked in Mos Eisley, he’s not (ever) actually portrayed as a particularly exceptional pilot, has no particular technical skills, and while he does hit that exhaust port when Wedge (one person) failed, he treats it less as something amazing that he could do than something that ought to be easy (“I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-46 back home; they’re not much bigger than 2 meters.”).

Anakin?  Rambo?  Sure.  Fine.  I don’t care.  I’ve never even heard of the Hammer dude who kept getting tossed around but everyone was certain that I’d be mad hearing him called a Mary Sue.  Whatever.  This is not something I’m willing to fight about.  I don’t like being accused of sexism, especially when I think it’s wrong, but there are also times where I’m more interested in brushing off my shoulders and moving on with my life than bravely mounting my horse and riding off to defend the castle, and this needed to be one of those times.


Yesterday evening, this time speaking with people who I “know” a lot better and who have more or less the same reach on Twitter than I do, I actually did get into a fruitful and interesting conversation about whether Rey was a Mary Sue or not, one that is going to lead to me leaving the phrase in the review but probably just avoiding it altogether in the future.  And then this happened:

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 7.43.20 AMScreen Shot 2015-12-21 at 7.43.31 AMScreen Shot 2015-12-21 at 7.43.42 AMScreen Shot 2015-12-21 at 7.43.51 AM (Screw the HTML; I just ended up screencapping it, but here’s a link to the Storify anyway.) The long and short of it is I got somebody to write Benevolence Archives/Star Wars fanfic, and it is the greatest thing ever.  

Which … well, that was probably a long story for a one-sentence punchline.

But still: BA Twitter fanfic!  That’s awesome!

Now somebody gimme some fan art.  I want fan art of Brazel and Rhundi and Grond in the worst way, and the Internet keeps not producing it.  🙂

2 thoughts on “On Rey and Mary Sue and FORCE AWAKENS and Twitter and fanfic and awesome

  1. I do think that Rey is kind of a Mary Sue, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Plenty of male characters are that way too. I just hate how quick a certain subset of men are to call any female character who is competent at anything a Mary Sue. Guess what guys, we are allowed to have our awesome wish fulfilment too. I think it upsets these guys because 1. It implies that women can be better at things than men and they can’t handle that, even if the woman is fictional and 2. It makes women feel good and confident and they hate that

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