What is up with TV at the moment?
I don’t actually watch The 100 or Sleepy Hollow. I had been hearing all about the Clarke and Lexa romance on Tumblr and thinking ‘maybe I should give this a chance, even though I don’t like post-apocalyptic or gritty.’ But then the next thing I heard was that they’d made the f/f romance canon and killed off one of the participants in the same episode, despite telling the fanbase that was not going to happen.
So now I have no reason to even start watching.
I hadn’t been watching Sleepy Hollow either, because I’m a wimp when it comes to supernatural things. (I can’t watch Supernatural for the same reason.) I enjoyed the first three episodes and then I realized that it was making me unable to go to sleep, and plagued with the fear that – even in the day time – if I heard a noise in the house it would be some kind of ghastly terror that would blast my eyes to look upon.
But that didn’t mean I wasn’t hearing the fanbase’s delight in having a strong, fully rounded black female hero as the protagonist of the show. I’m well aware of how often the hero is a white guy, who is the Chosen One, chosen apparently despite his mediocrity and ordinaryness. It was immediately apparent how great it would be to see someone like yourself as the one Chosen instead.
And then they killed Abbie off too. I thought she was the protagonist! But as it turns out, the writers thought she was just a guide for the real protagonist, the real Chosen One – who was as always, the white guy.
According to this article, there have been ten deaths of lesbian characters on TV so far this year, and that’s in a media climate where you hardly ever see a lesbian character at all. I don’t know if the show runners don’t realize that taking away food from people who are starving is bad or if they’re actually doing it deliberately.
I’m honestly bemused. I mean, statistics seem to prove that shows with more diversity gain more audience. That makes sense – everyone wants a hero they can identify with. So why would writers deliberately take those characters away? Do they want people to stop watching?
I don’t know. At any rate, on the principle of ‘if you want to see it, write it yourself’ I am plugging away at my writing while attempting to improve my diversity. I seem to be moving steadily in a direction of adventure stories with queer characters who also find love, rather than romance stories per se, if that distinction makes any sense. But Labyrinth at least features a bisexual man, a genderqueer youth, an asexual woman and a heterosexual aromantic woman. All of which is a challenge to get across in the setting of Bronze Age Crete where they didn’t conceptualize things in that way at all and certainly didn’t have the same words for it.
What’s my conclusion to this? I don’t know. I’m angry at a world that still doesn’t seem to understand the harm it’s doing. I want to do my best to improve my own stories so that they don’t accidentally do the same thing. But that doesn’t feel like it’s enough. I wish I had been watching those shows so I could stop now and boycott them, but I wasn’t. At least there is a fundraiser to raise money for LGBTQ kids who’ve been watching this and feeling like there is no future for them.