bel-desconneau what was that you were saying about late victorian porn being weird as fuck?
Are we being trolled by Hannibal fandom again?
can we all take a moment and appreciate how catching fire was a perfect book adaptation. like some fandoms don’t even get that, some fandoms get the main character to have the wrong hair color.
yeah but you forget how the hunger games fandom got the main character with the wrong skin color
The short answer: Mary Sue is the author’s idealized self-insert. (If you want to know alllll about Mary Sue, including the history and origins of the term, TV Tropes has your back. Also, if you aren’t careful, your mind and soul. Pack a lunch.) A Mary Sue story is one that primarily features a Mary Sue.
The slightly longer answer: That story you used to tell yourself, about the awesome girl who was totally pretty and everyone liked her and she maybe had magic powers and also like fifteen skills that you wished you did and also her hair never did that, you know, THAT THING your hair always does? And she was in your favorite fictional (or real person fictional) world, and all the characters or people that you loved the most loved her, and she married them or solved their problems or saved them or made them awesome food or held them when they cried? That story was a Mary Sue story, and that girl was a Mary Sue. Sometimes people write those stories down and post them. (AND THAT IS FINE.) Often the stories have limited appeal beyond the author and maybe her friends. (BUT THAT IS ALSO FINE.)
The “Sorry, you kind of touched a nerve” answer: While we can all identify our own Mary Sues, even if we’ve never written them down, people tend to spend a lot of time figuring out if other people have maybe written a Mary Sue, and checking every female character for potential Mary Sueism. In fandom times of old, the letters “OC” (original character) in a story header were a giant flag that meant Potential Bad Story Here, and the letters “OFC” (original female character) were translated as Guaranteed Bad Story Here. So people mostly stopped putting original female characters in their fan fiction.
But that couldn’t stop the inexorable progression of the Mary Sue Hunt. Canon female characters in fan fiction became the focus of intense scrutiny. Is this character being, perhaps, idealized? Is she better than she should be?
It was surprising how often she was better than she should be.
I mean, it’s one thing if we write John Sheppard being brilliant and solving a Millennium Problem while being extra super badass and a sharpshooter and extremely hot and having a troubled past and also he can play the piano and small children love him and he rides a horse. It’s one thing if we write Stiles as a badass motherfucker who can hack and do MMA and make small explosive devices and he saves everyone, and also it turns out he’s a surprisingly sexually skilled virgin, and also there’s this scene where he wears skintight leather and he has two boot knives. It is fine to write those things. (AND IT IS.) You could give Sheppard’s horse a telepathic soulbond with him and have Stiles elected president of universe (because he is awesome), and you’d still potentially have a significant and delighted readership. (WHICH IS ALSO FINE. Who doesn’t sometimes like a President Awesome with a Psychic Horse story? Give Sidney Crosby a psychic horse and you’ve got my click.) That’s just having fun and extrapolating from the canon. (Or, in the case of the telepathic soulbonding horse, it’s a crossover. From real actual published original fiction. And people call us strange.)
But if a female character does one of those things in fan fiction, she’s declared a potential Mary Sue. It’s out of character, it’s over the top, it’s wish fulfillment (as if there’s something wrong with wish fulfillment), it’s a self-insert. And that. That is less fine with me.
And the Mary Sue Problem is not limited to fan fiction. Turns out Mary Sues are also surprisingly prevalent in the canon itself! A tiny sample of the female characters I have heard described as Mary Sues:
- Hermione Granger
- Nyota Uhura
- Natasha Romanov
- Haruno Sakura
- Rose Tyler
- Bella Swann
- Katniss Everdeen
- Buffy Summers
Basically, think of any female character who gets more than eighteen lines, from any popular canon. Someone has called her a Mary Sue. Because she’s competent, because she’s smart, because she’s talented. Because she can do stuff, or because she tries to. Because she loves someone, or because someone loves her. Because she thinks she’s interesting. Because the author thinks we should care about her.
Mary Sue, in short, has become another way of dismissing female characters. Of telling women that we can’t be awesome. Of drawing the line between people who do (dudes) and people who are done to (ladies). Yet another entry in the long list of All the Unacceptable Female Characters. Yet another way of viciously scrutinizing every woman, real or imaginary, and either finding her excessively flawed (and therefore terrible) or excessively without flaw (and therefore terrible).
And also, of course, if the author of the Mary Sue story is a fan fiction writer, we make fun of her.
Which is why my actual definition of the term Mary Sue is: it’s a phrase that is useful for describing a certain common tendency in fan fiction that, taken to an extreme, is often pretty repetitive and uninteresting (but not, let me note, actually criminal or anything). Unfortunately, it has, over time, warped into a tool for knocking down ladies who write, and also other ladies, so I’m trying to learn not to use it any more. (But that is hard. Because see above about usefulness. Almost everyone has dreamed up at least one or two of these, and it’s so nice to have a name for them!)
ALL OF THIS.
Sure. I’m game.
Why the fuck not? It’s not like anyone’s going to take me up on this anyway.
DO IT I DARE U
Not expecting anything so sure
BRING IT THE HECKS ON
I could use a distraction right about now
SURE. WHAT THE HELL. SEND ME SOME SHIT
Fuckin try me
Not just right now. ALWAYS
ALSO today in group someone was referring to another patient using a male pronoun, and the grumpiest and most curmudgeonly old man in the group barked out “THEY” and stopped the whole group then mumbled “they use they pronouns” and I had hearts in my eyes
fun things to do in front of nerdy boys
intentionally mix up zelda and link
refer to anime as “japanese kids cartoons”
pronounce pokemon as pokey-mon
respond to everything they say with “oh yeah my baby brother likes that!”
I am a nerdy boy and I assure you the only reactions you would get from this are crying or outbursts of rage
you act like your tears aren’t EXACTLY what i want
During the Bubonic Plague, doctors wore these bird-like masks to avoid becoming sick. They would fill the beaks with spices and rose petals, so they wouldn’t have to smell the rotting bodies.
A theory during the Bubonic Plague was that the plague was caused by evil spirits. To scare the spirits away, the masks were intentionally designed to be creepy.
Mission fucking accomplished
Okay so I love this but it doesn’t cover the half of why the design is awesome and actually borders on making sense.
It wasn’t just that they didn’t want to smell the infected and dead, they thought it was crucial to protecting themselves. They had no way of knowing about what actually caused the plague, and so one of the other theories was that the smell of the infected all by itself was evil and could transmit the plague. So not only would they fill their masks with aromatic herbs and flowers, they would also burn fires in public areas, so that the smell of the smoke would “clear the air”. This all related to the miasma theory of contagion, which was one of the major theories out there until the 19th century. And it makes sense, in a way. Plague victims smelled awful, and there’s a general correlation between horrible septic smells and getting horribly sick if you’re around what causes them for too long.
You can see now that we’ve got two different theories as to what caused the plague that were worked into the design. That’s because the whole thing was an attempt by the doctors to cover as many bases as they could think of, and we’re still not done.
The glass eyepieces. They were either darkened or red, not something you generally want to have to contend with when examining patients. But the plague might be spread by eye contact via the evil eye, so best to ward that off too.
The illustration shows a doctor holding a stick. This was an examination tool, that helped the doctors keep some distance between themselves and the infected. They already had gloves on, but the extra level of separation was apparently deemed necessary. You could even take a pulse with it. Or keep people the fuck away from you, which was apparently a documented use.
Finally, the robe. It’s not just to look fancy, the cloth was waxed, as were all of the rest of their clothes. What’s one of the properties of wax? Water-based fluids aren’t absorbed by it. This was the closest you could get to a sterile, fully protecting garment back then. Because at least one person along the line was smart enough to think “Gee, I’d really rather not have the stuff coming out of those weeping sores anywhere on my person”.
So between all of these there’s a real sense that a lot of real thought was put into making sure the doctors were protected, even if they couldn’t exactly be sure from what. They worked with what information they had. And frankly, it’s a great design given what was available! You limit exposure to aspirated liquids, limit exposure to contaminated liquids already present, you limit contact with the infected. You also don’t give fleas any really good place to hop onto. That’s actually useful.
Beyond that, there were contracts the doctors would sign before they even got near a patient. They were to be under quarantine themselves, they wouldn’t treat patients without a custodian monitoring them and helping when something had to be physically contacted, and they would not treat non-plague patients for the duration. There was an actual system in place by the time the plague doctors really became a thing to make sure they didn’t infect anyone either.
These guys were the product of the scientific process at work, and the scientific process made a bitchin’ proto-hazmat suit. And containment protocols!
god I love these fuckin things
someone right now could be thinking dirty thoughts about you
I encourage those who are to share them with me.
|—||Katherine Cross (via homoarigato)|
gender: pissed off