….when it comes to a black woman having a potential relationship with the white male lead. Suddenly, there’s “too much going on” for a relationship, and the black woman doesn’t need to be seen as dependent on a man (which is such bullshit as she’s already independent and solitary to a fault).
So here’s the thing…
Whether you agree with it or not, media criticism is an essential and necessary part of fandom. It is both a reflection and examination of what is and the hope for what might be.
if we’re being honest, our media has more often than not done an embarrassing job of showing the world as it should be. And the version of the world they do show is full of the same tropes, idioms and cliches that prevent us from telling more fully realized stories of POC that make the color of our skin just one part of a much more interesting characterization rather than a primary defining quality.
In the former, women of color are BAMF’s with agency who don’t need to be alone because “a man doesn’t define them”. They fuck, they fight, they give and receive love in a way that says more about their humanity then their skin color and the embedded messaging that it implies.
In the latter, Abbie Mills doesn’t need to be defined by her relationship to a man and will therefore never be romantically involved with Ichabod (or anyone else).
As the demographic makeup of our country changes, the codified biases and prejudices that have empowered white males throughout history and subjugated the “other” have not magically disappeared.
One hopes that the proliferation of new media platforms creates more opportunities in front of and behind the camera to tell stories that are a reflection of what our society is capable of becoming.
Okay so am I understanding this right (and I’m genuinely unsure/not trying to be glib here so do tell me to can it if I’m being moronic) in that, because of how today’s current media handles things, we first need to have a sort of overreaction in the other direction - like, until WOC are properly represented, their roles must be confined to subversions of the stereotype, and only when (hopefully) a substantial enough future crop of media platforms have created enough opportunities for diverse stories, only then can Abbie Mills get some nookie? (Okay, at the end there I was maybe being a little bit glib. Just a smidge. ;))
Because otherwise I don’t see what new media platforms has to do with THIS show and THIS character? Yes, obviously I cannot wait for the future in which media has fully evolved in the way it’s started to with Netflix and Youtube shows and podcasts and Yahoo and independent studios and endeavours of all sorts - I’m so excited to see any and all middle-fingers to Hollywood’s very narrow ideas of representation (or lack thereof) - but right here and now we’re talking about Sleepy Hollow and the media landscape we live in now. And well, in today’s current landscape it kinda seems like there’s a lopsidedness going on with regards to love interests just as the OP pointed out, and isn’t the way to change that just to start changing it?
Out of all the women on Sleepy Hollow, Abbie’s arguably the only one with enough going on in terms of being a fully fleshed out character in her own right who really wouldn’t be defined by any romantic relationships she might have - she’s a witness, she’s a cop, she qualified for the FBI, she has a very complex and fragile relationship with her sister, she lost her mentor, she got pulled into crazy apocalypse shenanigans with a man from the Revolutionary War etc… And that’s just from season one. To me at least she feels like a fully realized person (of color) - exactly the type of character who can lead the way for POC/marginalized-in-media groups in general in being a person in every type of way, in defying stereotypes by being some or all or none in every possible variation, someone who is just a person that we as an audience care about and want to see happy and loved and safe and being badass.
I guess basically my tl;dr point is that the reasonings for the lack of focus on Abbie’s lovelife (in stark contrast to Ichabod), along the lines of “too much going on” and “doesn’t need to be defined by/dependent on a man” etc, feel downright ridiculously flimsy. Especially on a show that already has a character who is only defined by her relationships to men on this show (all of which she has personal relationships with), and a male lead who seems to find plenty of time for romance - going so far as to derailing plot-related things in his (supposed) love for her. Like, these arguements seem more like excuses to be employed just to shoot down any suggested ship writers don’t want people shipping? Because this is not the first I’ve seen of them - they show up other fandoms too, but I have never really seen it in a situation where it both makes sense AND would apply to a male character in the same way. It very curiously seem to only apply to women, even the “too much going on” one despite a lot of shows having very much going on most of the time.
Disclaimer time: I’m white, like can-see-me-from-space white (if I step outside, which I don’t), and I’m Swedish and I never went to university/college and I fully admit to now being particularly smart and I recognize that I’m so unqualified to speak about this that it may even count as disqualified, but I just … really fucking love discussing media and the importance of representation and the impact (positive and negative) that pop culture can have on society/public opinion, and I also really care about Sleepy Hollow and am bummed to see it, the show and the fandom, dragged down by some dumb writing decisions. Basically if you were planning on sending me anon hate or tell me to stfu something this is to let you know you don’t need to spend a lot of time on it - I can fill in the rest on my own thanks to good ol’ crippling insecurities and self-hatred. Really, just a frowny-face smiley will do - hell, I’ll probably manage even if it’s just ignored, I’m very self-reliant that way. I mean, you’re obviously super-welcome to tell me off, I’m just saying - don’t waste a lot of time on something I can just do for you.