How long do you think a character has to be badly written for before they're just a bad character? Like Geoffry gets good eventually but I'm sure you'd agree that right now he sucks terribly, regardless of what the authors intend. So part of me feels like though Sally becomes one of my favourites later, and the writers had better followups they never wrote for the relationship mess, at this point if all you've got is what got written then people weren't necessarily "wrong" for disliking Sally
I’m having a hard time articulating this, but I don’t think it’s fair to pin the plethora of weak Sally stories from the late ‘90s and early ‘00s on Sally as a character. She didn’t make those stories bad. The writers who misunderstood her and mistreated her did. They made Sally a character who sat on the sidelines for years, when she was very explicitly created to do the opposite of that. We have plenty of older stories, in particular two whole seasons of SatAM, to show off her strengths as a character and what she was originally envisioned as. It’s the direction they took her in, and not the core of her character. Compare this to someone like Geoffrey, who was created specifically to show up Sonic and creep on Sally and didn’t do much else for years
I will admit that yes, many of the fans who hated Sally back in the day were probably newer fans who hadn’t read the old comics or seen SatAM. But there were still some okay Sally stories in the dark ages. Look at her freeing the Robians with the sword in #100, or her fighting by Sonic’s side in #125. In most stories she was just inoffensive. Not a highlight of the series or the worst thing ever, just A Character Who Was There
But I don’t think this gets to the root of the issue, which is that fandoms have a tendency to judge female characters way harsher than male ones
Why do you think there were “kill Sally” groups on DeviantArt after The Slap, but no such groups for characters like Geoffrey, a smarmy grown man who literally preyed on a teenage girl, or abusive parents like Locke or Max? You could say Sally’s a more prominent character than them, but from #50 - #159, I’m not sure that’s entirely true. Why was Sally yelling at Sonic and slapping him in the face treated as The Most Unforgivable Thing, while Locke taking his son from his family and abandoning him in the wilderness and Max trying to enact Robian genocide were largely forgotten? Or if you wanna get mad about characters “randomly changing personalities,” what about Antoine turning into a complete douche off-screen with no explanation and throwing Bunnie in the trash?
It’s the same shit we still see to this day. Male characters are given infinite second chances, while female characters aren’t allowed to be flawed or fuck up. It’s the reason why you’ll see people online espousing their love for Tony Stark one minute and then writing callout posts for Pearl from Steven Universe the next. And I’m not saying that Sally in the Penders/Bollers/Chacon/etc. era was that deep of a character, because she wasn’t. The writing was sloppy. But I’m saying that she fucked up once and fans literally, to this day, will not shut the hell up about it
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