This is the woman who Peter Parker eventually married (and, uh, un-married) but what kind of person is she? It is safe to say that she evolved from being a young adult to a mature-minded individual. However there is a lot to consider when analyzing Mary Jane Watson’s personality. When we first met her she was a high-energy little girl in a woman’s body. She just wanted to have fun and do things like model and dance, date lots of boys, etc. This is not atypical of young women (or men) who don’t want to face responsibility but rather blow through their twenties by having the time of their lives. This lack of foresight might punish her later if she doesn’t wise up though, which thankfully she does over time.
Mary Jane is what we call a “party girl”. She just wants to have fun. Sounds innocent enough, until you realize that this sort of behavior tends to lead to an attitude where you chase the dragon, always wanting that high and will cut down anyone and anything that gets in your way. Or in other words, you care about no one but yourself. You can see what I mean in issue 43 of Amazing Spider-Man (ASM). She acts this way because she is used to getting male attention. As Betty Brant pointed out in ASM 25, she looks like “a screen star”. Mary Jane is aware of this because in issue 43 she responds to Peter hitting on her by saying that she was afraid that he’d be the shy type. This is what she likes, the male attention. This gives her the high that she chases. It is shown again in the end of the issue. Peter calls her to cancel their date. Her apparent response was that she couldn’t have cared less. She only cared about herself.
We get to see the chilling reality of Mary Jane Watson’s personality in ASM 125. A couple issue before we saw the funeral of Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s fiance. Of course, he is still devastated. So how does she respond? She implies that he is acting like a baby and tells him to only drop by when he is cheery and wanting to take her out dancing. Or in other words, she only wants to see him when she can have fun. Don’t get me wrong, nobody likes a downer. However Peter could have been on the edge of killing himself. For her to treat him like garbage like this says a lot about her character. Still don’t believe me? Peter actually predicted this behavior because he knows what she is like. In ASM 122, at his rawest moment with his heart shattered, he tells MJ straight-up that she wouldn’t be sorry if her own mother died.
Let me ask you something: how would you react if someone you cared about proposed marriage to you? I imagine you would be ecstatic. But what if you just cared about jumping from person to person as if they were your play toys? A proposal wouldn’t mean anything to you at all. In fact you would find it a hindrance to your happiness. We see this in ASM 183 after Peter proposed to her. Remember that Peter is someone that she is familiar with. This was someone she kissed as far back as issue 143.
Does her heart ever soften? Thank heavens, yes. in Spider-Man Versus Wolverine we see them beginning to get closer than ever and value each other being in their lives. A second proposal was initially rejected again in ASM 291 as she claims that they were just friends. In 292 she admits that she loves him. In the end she says that “maybe there’s nothing wrong with making someone else happy–as long as that person makes you happy.” This sentence sums up the transition of Mary Jane Watson’s personality into maturity as she considers that other people’s happiness may matter as much as her own. Their wedding in ASM Annual 21 completes a collector’s dream if you are a Mary Jane fan.