The appropriation of characters by UCSL-The curse of the Willow Sue

The most prevalent genre in fanfiction is the Mary Sue genre. In most media fandoms, the Mary Sue archetype is a purely fan-based creation, and therefore is easy to spot in fic. However, in Buffy fandom, the writers of the show, the original text, have created a pre-fab Mary Sue in the character of Willow Rosenberg. Willow is nice, shy, sweet, kind, a computer geek, and utterly adorable. Young women who watch the show identify with her almost instantly, and an entire internet fandom has developed specifically around her, including a bevy of fanfiction lists.
In the UCSL archive, 34% of the stories are Willow-centric. With over 7 recurring/main characters, 34% is an amazingly high number for one particular character. Willow is the perfect Mary Sue, able to be inserted into any fic, any relationship, and still appear to be the perfect, adorable character that everyone loves.
Out of the people surveyed, 65% said that they identified with a particular character and primarily wrote fic involving that character. Out of their own volition, 20% specifically said that they identified with Willow, with one person saying "I identify with Willow, being as she's nicer, shy, and smart. I think most of us can identify more readily with her, and in the same time she's the easiest to hurt because she represents virtue and innocence that most of us just don't have."
Obviously, the Mary Sue genre can become quickly annoying. Authors then attempt to write fic that includes the exact opposite of the Mary Sue archetype, and create what has been called "the Troublemaker", or "the Evil Mary Sue". And, yet again, the writers of the show have created for the fanficcers a pre-fab version, the Evil Vampire Willow, most recently seen with the Mary Sue Willow in the episode "Dopplegangland".

Sexual Exploration -- UCSL as a Safe Environment

Table Of Contents ][ Bibliography ][ Terminology