In 6x18, Snow said she had been planning Emma's wedding since the first curse was broken. Back then Emma was in love with Neal and then Walsh so isnt it obvious that Snow doesnt care who Emma ended up marrying just as long it was to a man?
Yes, and it actually started with Graham. Emma doesn’t show any particular interest in Graham. She’s nice to him, but beyond them being a good-looking man and a woman interacting, there was very little added there. Meanwhile Emma looks at Regina like this…
Graham then assumes Emma has feelings for him because she has a very emotional reaction when she catches him sleeping with Regina. He kisses her to try and tell her that he likes her better than Regina and she is just completely confused and stunned by his kiss. She doesn’t realize he is responding to her obvious jealousy because it wasn’t about him. It was about Regina, because for her attraction to Regina we did actually get clues beyond them just sharing screentime.
Next Mary Margaret gets flowers from Whale. Emma angrily throws them thinking Graham is overstepping - and Mary Margaret convinces her it’s completely obvious to everyone she’s in love with Graham. She uses Emma’s anger about this guy not respecting her boundaries as proof she’s actually in love. The idea of Mary Margaret being Emma’s real mother had already been planted in Emma’s mind. Emma hadn’t worked through her abandonment issues, so she was already vulnerable to Mary Margaret’s opinions of her.
Mary Margaret introduced the idea of Emma having walls up. Walls that keep out love. That wasn’t Emma talking, that was Mary Margaret interpreting the situation. Wrongly. If Emma was mostly oblivious to her own feelings, she was also susceptible to Mary Margaret’s explanation for them. She would have noticed not being able to form emotional bonds with men, not being able to fall in love with them like she was supposed to. So an explanation - preferably not a gay one - would have been welcome. It’s only after that conversation with Mary Margaret she suddenly gives Graham a chance.
After establishing this, they didn’t need to give us any extra explanations for Emma’s relationships with men. Ever since this happened it’s been about being normal and being the person she thinks her mother wants her to be. That’s how repression works in the real world, that’s how lesbians end up married to men. It’s common enough for me to know at least two women in that situation and I didn’t meet them in queer spaces either. I met them at work. On two different continents in two different jobs. A few years later they came out. Both don’t identify as bisexual, but as lesbians.
Even if the show hadn’t given us any clue that Emma might be a lesbian in denial, plenty of shows have characters previously thought to be straight come out, because this is realistic. This happens in the real world. You think you’re straight until you realize you’re not and before that… you act straight or try to act straight. This is a show that went as far as establishing how it actually works beforehand, a show that gave us a hint before building up the closet. So of course, it’s meaningful, otherwise they wouldn’t have done it. It’s an integral part of Emma’s journey, that’s why she’s now about to be married and we are still getting so much focus on the involvement of Snow, because they told us from the beginning that this was about her relationship with her mother.
On top of that they coded Mary Margaret/Snow as a religious mother. She wears a cross. She volunteered for the nuns. She lives in a community that blames her more than David when he cheats on his wife. Women’s sexuality is more restricted. She talks about forgiveness, redemption, and grace. Emma grew up in our world. Of course she would delve deep in the closet in response to that, not willing to risk anything now that she thinks she’s found her real family. She has been obsessed with finding her birth parents, and there would only be one set of those. She wouldn’t want to risk alienating them before getting to know them, but in the process… she lost herself.
“People are going to tell you who you are your whole life. You just got to punch back and say, ‘no, this is who I am.’ You want people to look at you differently? Make them.”
The story has been consistent. She just needs to remember who she is and follow her own advice.