TV’s Frink said:
Rey was able to do a mind trick without even seeing it done or being trained regarding it, but she did experience Kylo reading her thoughts, so she isn’t entirely unfamiliar with the idea of manipulating with someone’s mind.
This is the thing that bugs me, and it’s because of the execution - we don’t see her thought process at all. I came to this conclusion as well, but I shouldn’t have to mentally edit the film for them.
This exactly. Most of these Mary Sue accusations are happening not because of misogyny or because people don’t like her character but because there’s one too many conveniences and assumptions made on the part of the writers/director, and the mind trick is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
You are missing the point. It’s not the conveniences and assumptions that make it misogyny, it’s the term itself. And I’ve covered why the term is problematic many, many times before, so I’m not going to do it again…but it boils down to the fact that it is applied to women 99.2% of the time, while men get a free pass in the same situation.
I assume you mean that it is applied to female characters instead of male characters.
TV Tropes goes into some detail as to why the term has lost its meaning, but the gist of it is that it was originally intended to describe perfect female avatars of authors writing fanfiction, since at that time many online fanfictions were written by women. The term could also be used for perfect male author avatars (Gary Stu), but this term never saw wide usage since there already existed a term for this character: Action Hero (James Bond, John Matrix) or the (Frink Trigger Warning) anime equivalent (Light Yagami, Kirito). The fact of the matter is that female and male authors tend to have different interests with regards to their wish fulfillment fantasies, so Mary Sue and Gary Stu tend to be easily distinguishable from each other and people don’t generally need a new term when they have one that is sufficient for their purposes.
Additionally, the term was invented for a character on a Star Trek parody fanfic, so the term was inherently unserious, a way of bundling a lot of wish fulfillment impulses together under a single name. Since the original work was a parody, it was written with this intent and was appreciated as such. That is why the James Bond franchise has been so popular, and why Twilight has succeeded - sometimes, wish fulfillment is preferable to believable characters.
However, there has been no Mary Sue or Gary Stu character in the Star Wars films. Even the most powerful character is written believably in the context of the magical universe in which they live. We are given reasons for why Anakin is so powerful, why Yoda can life an X-wing, and why Palpatine is able to rule the galaxy (sort of). We are given no similar reason for why Rey is strong with the Force. We are not told that she was conceived by the Force, like Anakin, nor are we told that she comes from a family of Force users, like Luke. Similarly, every character in the Star Wars films has had to spend years honing their skills in order to even levitate small objects, something which Rey is able to do by the end of the film. It is not because she is female that these skills are a problem, it is because her ability has no precedent nor explanation in the Star Wars universe. Hopefully TLJ addresses this, but it would still be a retcon to this film.
But is Rey a Mary Sue? Like I’ve discussed exhaustively elsewhere, she is not. But she does have elements of wish fulfillment (male or female), such as with the mind trick and lightsaber levitation, among others. This is why I can’t agree with those people who give her a free pass because she’s the first female protagonist in the Star Wars films. Take this comment on the BMD article:
“If Rey is a Mary Sue, what she represents is way fucking more important than that label. The women and girls who get to see Rey on the movie screen and want to be the hero of their own story, that matters more than any amount of nitpicks on the internet.” -Ed
This is the problem, that the only reason people are okay with her being so badly explained as part of the Star Wars universe is because she is wish fulfillment for women and girls. I agree that such representation was necessary, but that doesn’t forgive the problem of making her the female equivalent of the Action Hero. She could easily have been established as Luke’s daughter or Chosen by the Force and these problems would have evaporated on the spot.
Hear hear, great post NeverarGreat.