Because I feel like talking about this again–
Emori as disabled rep is amazing and beautiful and so needed, and the fact that characters (mostly Murphy but Clarke twiceish) find her valuable and worth protecting is immensely important. But the fact that the show shies away from showing the institutionalized ableism within grounder culture weakens the point they’re trying to make.
Emori’s entire character depends on the extremely grim idea that an entire culture considers human life worthless when it’s connected to physical flaw. This deeply-ingrained mindset is the reason behind her chaotic neutral out-for-herself perspective, for her aggressively ruthless streak, for her incredibly clever criminality. This mindset is also one of the reasons her relationship with Murphy is so important. While her rejection from society echoes his a little bit, it also echoes a greater rejection of disabled people that still exists in varying levels in every single contemporary society. Showing her in a respectful, wholesome (ish) relationship with someone who thinks her disability is actually kinda cool is such a spit in the face to everyone who devalues people because of disabilities and congenital conditions. And of course her relationship with Murphy isn’t the only significant thing about her character (as much as some fans think of her that way :’( ), but my point is that her nuanced, uncomfortable background is important both to her character and to her relationship with another character.
But. For some reason, with the exception of Emori being occasionally treated as an outsider, the show likes to talk about the mistreatment Emori has experienced without actually showing it. This probably comes down to a combination of two factors:
-Not wanting the unpleasantness of blatant ableism to be expressed on the show (ex. a clan leader condemning a baby to death for being a frikdreina)
-Not wanting the unpleasantness of an established and well-liked character expressing blatant ableism on the show (e. Lexa or Roan condemning a baby to death for being a frikdreina)
There are a lot of important grounder characters on the 100 (
mostly dead now but eh) that the audience values and identifies with. Anya, Indra, Gaia, Lexa, Roan. People even liked Ontari for some reason that I cannot fathom. Emori’s entire situation depends on a completely immoral system that would only logically be enforced by cultural leadership (unless it’s just an intense, vicious social taboo in which case every grounder character would enforce this attitude, not just leadership). And yeah, I don’t want to see people being dicks to my girl! Ableism is uncomfortable and shitty and even just the internalized ableism I experience with a passing congenital defect sucks all kinds of suck!
But without it, the audience (which contains a high-percentage of able-bodied peeps) sees Emori talk about her difficult experiences and make harsh, cold-hearted decisions based on them without having any realistic point of reference concerning what this character (and disabled people in general) actually have to deal with in terms of social taboo and deeply-ingrained aversion. (Yeah, we heard Roan call her ‘the frikdreina’ one time– and he was shut down by Raven, bless– but unfortunately that probably doesn’t even brush the surface of what Emori has experienced?)
Basically, when you throw a character into a situation where they have to act really ruthlessly and tell instead of show their reasons for being the way they are, it can really make the audience hate the character? And it kind of does a disservice to disabled rep too?
And it basically comes down to the fact that the show’s writers don’t want the audience to dislike already-established characters for showing ableism it would make sense within the narrative for them to show.
Could it– dare I say– reflect a hesitance to acknowledge that average, everyday people have established and difficult to unlearn ableist tendencies?
It’s a weak storytelling choice and does a disservice to a character who provides the show with crazy important and rare representation. Is all I’m saying.
ok everyone is constantly on about neil and allison and neil and matt but WHERE are my discussions on neil and kevin?? don't even TRY and tell me they're not lowkey besties