Straw Man all you'd like, but you can't do it here
Dear Anyone still watching Sleepy Hollow/those who see no problem with the current situation,
I’m really tired of you trying to use the ichabbie ship to invalidate our very real grievances.
“They’re just mad because half of their ship died.” I’ve seen you say, suggest and hint at that sentiment. So why don’t we just be honest? You don’t get what the big deal is.
Behold: our grievances, in the interest of honesty and in no particular order:
1) Trying to pull off the “strong independent black woman” trope is bad (It’s a hurtful, racist stereotype. And if you don’t understand why, I suggest some research. There are many beautifully written blogs that expound upon that point in general and a quick search will turn them up), but trying to break that stereotype by having a main character’s boss initiate a kiss without consent, in a glass office at her place of work?
And before you say, “But Jenny–
Jenny isn’t a main character. A beloved secondary (at least in the first 3 seasons. I will not watch the 4th) but not a main. Jenny’s rolls in the hay with Hawley and viciously ended relationship with Joe a) have their own problems and b) have nothing to do with how this show treated one of it’s suposed leads (except maybe for colorism). Which brings me to
2) Killing Scully? Bad. But killing Scully with a, “my whole purpose in life was to guide you forward”? AND then getting her name wrong on her tombstone?
3) Killing off or disappearing just about all your characters of color? Bad. Killing off or disappearing just about all your characters of color for no discernable reason? When they did not have to vanish for the story to remain interesting and coherent? Andy? Gone before Moloch is resolved. Luke? Just disappeared. Frank? Shabbily patched up exit after being asked not to return. Abbie? See 2. The rest of the Irving family? THE ENTIRE SHAWNEE TRIBE? In fact the only person of color whose exit has some connection to plot (though it did not have to) is Reyes.
4) Creating a Quaker witch/battle field nurse/ spy (?) and placing her opposite Ichabod’s intelligence and wit? Fantastic actually. Squandering that super interesting premise/ internal charcter conflict with breathily whispered lines (a choice I’m sure Winter had not much say in) and defining her only in relation to other men? Bad. Throwing in a noncon demon baby pregnancy? Worse. Disposing of her character with a, “oh women are all about their babies to abstraction! A mother’s love will always blind her! Even to the mission she’s been carrying on for over 200 years whilst trapped and on the run in purgatory uwuuu.” Find your own adjective ‘cause I’m done with you.
5) Trying to introduce a white dude bro Indian Jones type character when there is already a better integrated black female version? Bad. Trying to solve #1 by tossing said dude bro between the Mills sisters? Ugh. (AN: I don’t even think many of us minded the idea of Hawley with Abbie (or Jenny) for a time. UNTIL IT BECAME OBVIOUS HE WAS DISRESPECTING THEM BOTH.)
6) Wasting perfectly awesome storylines that would have given the remaing POC refugees something positive to engage in? Petty and not the fun kind. I mean would the Orion storyline have disappeared if he had been female and showing interest in Ichabod?
7) I told myself I wasn’t going to do it, but here’s one I’m laying at the feet of the Ichabod/everyone but Abbie shippers: Not shipping Ichabod and Abbie? Whatever your perrogative. But making a straw man of the ichabbie ship? Making it out like we’re rabid shippers and “Ichabbie right now this instant even when it doesn’t make sense in the current plot because Ichabod is faithfully married” or whatever the case may be? Do better for yourself. There is no ichabbie shipper who would have wanted that pairing to manifest in a way that was not done thoughtfully. Slow build would have been fine, preferred even. Our complaint is the, “Nope. Never these two. In no known universe,” response the writers and some of you have when this pairing is brought up. Really? Never? Despite their obvious chemistry? Why? Now that you know we’ve never advocated for a hamfisted coupling of Ichabod and Abbie plot be damned, you’re going to have to find another reason you disagree with that ship. If Scully and Mulder can do it, why not these two? And before you say, “why do all mains have to get together,” stop. Why does THIS pairing in particular have to be the one that takes the platonic hit? One of the only interracial couples in genre fiction? One of the even fewer with a black woman? One of the even fewer that didn’t start with the mains as a couple? When these conditions are met in genre fiction (or even general fiction), which is rarely, the mains are almost never paired romantically (see 1). So when you say “all mains” you’re talking about white mains. And if that bothers you, the lack of platonic white co-leads, then go ahead and holler. I’ll holler right alongside you. But that logic does not belong here. Not when black women have historically been discriminated against when it comes to having and being romantic prospects. Not when that discrimination sharpens if the other party is the male, white lead.
These are just the grievances I recall at the moment. I haven’t even touched upon the dearth of Asian Americans (after Andy’s second? Third death?) or the complete absence of sexual orientation and gender minorities in the first three seasons. Now you can never say you did not know. Take a good hard look at your relationship with this show. Are you okay with it because these problems don’t touch you and your experience? If so, you may want to rethink your status as an ally. And before you ask, “Why does everything have to be about [insert social issue here, usually race]? Can’t I just enjoy my show?” Don’t. It’s the definition of privilege, not having to think about your [insert social issue here, usually race] and illustrates the very inequity that has most of us up in arms in the first place.