I haven't talked much about Merlin on here in aaaaages chiefly cause I'm not all that active in the fandom anymore, despite still loving the show and its cast. Also I feel like everything I could say about my issues with it has already been said and really there's no more to add at this stage when I'd rather be focusing on enjoying Merlin for what it is than castigating it for failing to be what I wish it was.
But there are days when I wish I was a bit more involved in fandom, if only to stop people getting away with shit like this:
(note the tags, btw)
I don't care what anyone says - the fandom is NOT 99% Merlin/Arthur OTP-ers and it grinds my gears when slashers insist on this idea, because it's an incredibly arrogant thing to claim and essentially erases my experiences and contributions to the fandom - and the experiences and contributions of a lot of my friends - as someone who couldn't give less of a crap about Arthur and Merlin's relationship.
Besides which, it patently isn't true for anyone who has bothered to step outside of the Arthur/Merlin bubbles that exist in the fandom as a whole. I would suspect Arthur/Merlin shippers DO constitute the majority, don't get me wrong, but not by that much. My rough estimation is 50% Merlin/Arthur shippers, 30% Arthur/Gwen shippers and 20% everyone else, and of those Arthur/Merlin shippers I'd guess many of them are multishippers who, even if their main interest is Merlin/Arthur, do enjoy other elements of the show.
Beyond that, it's completely laughable to think that the majority of Merlin's VIEWERSHIP is only interested in Arthur and Merlin's relationship. I'm sorry but the fandom, which is much more diverse than these people are claiming anyway, probably numbers hundreds of thousands. The viewership, meanwhile, numbers MILLIONS. Proportionally, the fandom is a tiny fraction of Merlin's actual audience and the slashers have no business claiming to speak for 99% of them.
Ultimately, however, this claim is actually irrelevant - and THAT is what drove me to reblog with the wee mini meta essay I did, on the politics of inclusion in mass media and the history of romance/hero narratives in western culture.
There is, in essence, a REASON why myself and so many others insist on the importance of the inclusion of women on this show and it has nothing to do with what a bunch of privileged straight girls want to fuel their porn with.
This is what I responded with:
( WARNING: ramblings of a queer and/or political nature about why representation is so damn important and ESPECIALLY on this show )
I think this as close as I have come to coherently summing up my feelings on the issue in the last couple of years, tbh. I love Merlin. I think this show is pretty fucking fantastic, actually, whatever its detractors. But that wont stop me saying over and over that the Merlin/Arthur dynamic is over-emphasised to a damaging degree and that the show would be better and frankly far more interesting and original if it would give the women some space to develop in their own right.
Take for instance, the fact that NEITHER of the main girls are in this Saturday's episode. I think that's utterly appalling because would we ever get an episode that didn't feature either of the boys? Or featured them only in a few scenes in which they exclusively interact with women and carry out actions that will effect women or have been effected by women?
Hells no. So why are the women being treated like that? It's unnecessary and frustrating and frankly just kinda unoriginal.