Back in the beginning of season one, there was an exchange between Alya and Marinette that really stood out to me. It takes place at the end of The Bubbler;
“You gotta tell him you were the one who knitted the scarf.” "But he seems so happy about his dad. I don’t want to spoil it for him.” "Aw, Marinette. You’re amazing, girl. You know that, right? And someday Adrien will figure it out too. Promise.” (Alya Césaire and Marinette Dupain-Cheng S1E1)
I wanted to address this for a number of reasons, but specifically because of the upcoming episode and the Luka discourse.
More often than not, Marinette gets the short end of the stick when it comes to the love square. Her affection goes unrequited, ignored, or shut down—which isn’t to say Adrien is at fault, we can’t help who we are or aren’t attracted to. However, it doesn’t change the fact that unrequited love leaves people hurt—Marinette included.
I’m sure being Ladybug is a thankless job—but it’s even harder when you’re Marinette.
People often overlook or forget how selfless she is. Marinette does the same, if not more, out of costume than in. She’s always quick to help those around her and expects nothing in return for it. So if anyone is deserving of praise, it’s her without a doubt.
But, as mentioned by Alya, it isn’t going to come from Adrien anytime soon.
Which is why Luka’s arrival is so important.
Marinette needs to understand how wonderful she is. She deserves affection and praise—and if that comes from Luka or Kagami, so be it. Even if she doesn’t return his feelings, it’s important for her to hear it—to understand how amazing she is and worthy of being loved, as stated by Alya.
We all know the love square is end game. There’s no need to light the torches and revolt. Just…let Marinette have her moment and be the focus for once. I’m tired of seeing her shamed for her affections and crush—by both the fandom and writers.
She’s crucified anytime there’s an inkling of jealously—and the writers always take the opportunity to "teach her a lesson” (Volpina, Riposte, the list goes on), but never hold Adrien accountable for the same behavior. Institutionalized sexism is present everywhere and in everyone, so always keep that in mind when criticizing and comparing certain characters. A lot of Marinette’s problematic behavior can be attributed to a writing issue, if you compare how vastly different her character can be depending on the situation. The writers try to play it off as cute, which bothers me. If you were to flip the script and have Adrien keep schedules and follow Marinette around, that would be more than evident.
In short…just be mindful. I love Marinette, I love Adrien and I’ll probably love Luka.