I can accept if people dislike Mary Jane. However, it’s hard for me to take much of that criticism seriously because so many seem like pretenses.
Mary Jane is scorned because she married Peter. The criticisms focus on her because she is the perfect scapegoat for the marriage, so by making her look bad, the marriage to her looks bad by association, and subsequently, the very notion of Spider-Man gets dragged down.
People repeat the argument that she was this “supermodel”, but with the way it’s condemned, you’d think it was the status quo for years on end, when really, it was for an arc at most. So you have her career exaggerated, and apparently it always made things “easy” for Peter. Sure, Mary Jane made money, but to say that she was always making his financial problems easier assumes that she was always a supermodel capable of earning that much money. Since she wasn’t constantly a model, there’s no way she could have constantly made Peter’s financial woes easier.
The narrative that “Mary Jane is a supermodel who made things easier” singles out a moment in their history, and presents as the entirety of that history. Hannah Blumenreich exaggerated this even further, claiming that Peter gets with girls who become supermodels, as if it happened with more women than just Mary Jane.
One of the more frustrating arguments is that Peter getting married cuts of “story potential.” Okay, what potential is there that’s lost that has nothing to do with his relationship status? Either he isn’t in a relationship, or he’s dating someone other than Mary Jane, or he’s dating Mary Jane rather than being married to her.
Let’s break those possibilities down.
1: If Peter is not in a relationship, then your options are to either have him enter a relationship and continue with that story, or keep him out of a relationship entirely. Either you progress to the other possibilities, or you don’t. Not being in a relationship is not a “story”. It is an aspect of a story.
2: If Peter is dating women other than Mary Jane, what is the purpose of this relationship? It favors quantity over quality. You’re going to end the relationship anyway, so Peter might as well be going through Bond Girls. Brand New Day was, for lack of a better phrase, bidding on a horse race. The writers all favored certain girls who were invented for Brand New Day anyway. The appeal wasn’t that these women had any merits in their own right, but rather, they were just “alternatives” to Mary Jane. Dan Slott lamented that people didn’t give Carlie Cooper or Cissy Ironwood (You know, that girl who should up in like three issues of Slott’s precious Marvel Team-Up before she vanished altogether) because they weren’t Mary Jane. No, we don’t like these characters they’re either outright abusive to Peter, or you literally give us no reason to like them beyond “They’re not Mary Jane.” If you can only define yourself by the comparison, I’m not going to care. You are tearing down Mary Jane to prop up your favorite.
3: If Peter is dating Mary Jane, why don’t they just get married? Oh, right, because that’s too “permanent”, and we need a back door to break up their relationship. The only purpose of breaking them up would be to rehash the previous two ideas.
Joe Quesada, Dan Slott, and their fans who hate the marriage all equate the marriage with finality. It’s like people want a harem manga where Gwen Stacy is “Best Girl”, and are more interested in the meanderings that drive harem manga.
I get it, you want the character to last forever, but Mary Jane is not going to hurt that. Keeping her and Peter apart is not about “preserving” the franchise. It’s about being contrary for the sake of it.