WHAT IS (AND ISN’T) QUEERBAITING?


Well, this should be a doozy! After my “Supernatural” video sparked a little bit of discussion about the topic, I wanted to take some time to talk a little bit about “queerbaiting.” The term has become sort of a buzzword, not only in film and television critic circles, but also in social justice-y communities in general. A lot of things get labeled as queerbaiting, some justifiably and some not. Any time the accusation is leveled towards any piece of media, you’re inevitably going to have a lot of debates about the subject. Is this queerbaiting…? Are fans just reading too much into it…? Is queerbaiting even a real thing at all…?? These debates can get pretty heated and so it’s worth taking a step back, and taking a broader look at the contexts in which these claims are made and what they actually mean. So… What is “queerbaiting”? Let’s start with a history lesson. So the term “queerbaiting” is actually an offshoot of another term: “queercoding”. –I’m gonna end up saying the word “queer” a lot by the end of the video. Okay? Like, it’s not even gonna sound like a word anymore.– Queercoding was most popular up until the 90s, but it still does happen. Essentially, this means giving a character traits that are commonly associated with gay people, without explicitly saying that a character is gay. This is in part because in the States, the Hays Code, a set of morality guidelines imposed on Hollywood films actively banned depictions of explicitly gay characters up until 1968. This meant that even if certain characters had a resemblance to gay people, you couldn’t explicitly say that they were gay. This was especially common in children’s media like cartoons. Although the Hays Code was replaced by the currently existing film rating system in 1968, this trend continued long afterwards. For example: Ursula, from “The Little Mermaid”, is actually based off of a famous drag queen Divine; Or Him, a villain from the “Powerpuff Girls”, is shown frequently cross-dressing; As well as Bugs Bunny in old 60s cartoons. We also see a lot of characters who act in stereotypically effeminate or flamboyant ways: Like Senor Senor Jr. from “Kim Possible”, Hades from the “Hercules” movie, or Scar from “The Lion King”. Okay. Quick aside here. Because I can already see people like rushing to the comment box to type: [high fast voice] “Okay, but wearing high heels and talking in stereotypically flamboyant ways doesn’t automatically make someone gay, isn’t it stereotyping to call anything queer coding?” Well, no, the creators many times explicitly have gay people in mind when they’re making these characters. They didn’t ‘accidentally’ make Ursula look like Divine. They’re evoking that imagery on purpose. You know, it’s not stereotyping to notice that they’re doing something that they are actually deliberately doing. Especially when the majority of people making these criticisms are actually part of the LGBT+ community. So anyway, what’s the problem with this? So what if these characters have traits that make them look stereotypically gay even if the media doesn’t explicitly say it? Well… Take a look at the characters who are queercoded again. They pretty much fall into two categories: either jokes like Bugs Bunny… or villains. Given that these characters are often marketed towards children, and many of them come from an era when there’s no way that they’re ever going to see an actual positive depiction of a person who has these traits, that’s kind of sending a bad message, don’t ya think? You know… Even if there’s not a room of evil TV execs sitting around rubbing their hands together, nefariously going [Evil Voice] “Ha Ha! We’ll teach those young impressionable minds to associate being gay with being evil, and then they will grow up to hate the homosexuals!” Even if there’s no big conspiracy surrounding it, it can still end up having those kind of harmful effects when these are the only representations that these kids are ever gonna see of people with those traits. Nowadays though, although this still happens to an extent, showrunners are a little bit more cautious of this. Not to mention these aren’t the only depictions of gay people in children’s media that we see anymore. Now with the advent of media like “Clarence”, “In a Heartbeat”, and “The Legend of Korra”, positive depictions of these characters are becoming more and more common. Of course, there is definitely a ways to go and we’ll talk about that, but it’s getting there. Now that showrunners have to actually consciously consider the fact that gay people exist and have feelingsand are a viable consumer base who can give them their moneyIt’s starting to represent a cultural shift. See, originally, with this very negative queercoding the focus was never on a queer audience who might potentially watch your show. They were primarily just thinking about how to be entertaining to straight people. But now with this cultural shift, showrunners are starting to think about how to factor a queer audience into the whole shebang. [Thoughtfully] “How do we get them to give us their money…?” This is where queerbaiting comes in. The definition of “queerbaiting”, according to Wikipedia, is: “the practice to hint at, but then not actually depict, a same-sex romantic relationship between characters in a work of fiction”, but this is pretty vague, right? I mean what’s ‘hinting at’, you know? Is it making jokes? Is it lingering gazes and swelling music? Is that implying a character is gay in an interview and then never actually depicting it? This is kind of hard because some of these things really are up for interpretation. The general consensus seems to just be: ‘we’ll know it when we see it’. Which is, you know, not awesome. More on that in a minute. So why does this happen? Well, there are two possible hypotheses that I see people use to explain the issue: The first one is that some of this queerbaiting is merely accidental. Writers never intended for a relationship between two of these characters to be viewed as romantic. They’re not dropping hints on purpose, people are just reading into it more than the creators ever really intended. The second one is a little bit more cynical. Essentially a creator wants all the publicity and revenue associated with having a large queer fanbase, but they don’t want to deal with the controversy or loss of a mainstream audience actually associated with having queer characters. They figure that the best of both worlds is to just kind of keep those fans on a string occasionally alluding to a relationship but never really following through. The first explanation might work in some cases, but there are times when it’s painfully obvious that a show is using the prospect of a same-sex relationship to drum up viewership or controversy. Take the first episode of “Riverdale”. The promotional material for that episode heavily featured Betty and Veronica kissing, which is naturally gonna pique the interest of some queer audience members, which is normal, you know, people like seeing stories about people who are like them, especially when there aren’t a lot of those stories. But of course when you actually watch the episode, it’s essentially this whole manufactured thing where they’re only kissing each other for the drama of it all. Which is so close to being self-aware, it’s almost funny. Simply put they wanted all the positive reactions associated with having Betty and Veronica be a couple, they wanted praise, they wanted drama, they wanted a big fan base. But they’ve realized that they don’t actually have to have them be in a relationship to reap any of these benefits. And so it’s hard to say that this is just people reading too much into subtle signs, you know? You can’t ‘accidentally’ use characters kissing for promotional material. They knew what they were doing by having that kiss be a big part of their promo. So there are definitely instances where queerbating is a deliberate, calculated thing on the part of the show runners. Going back to our earlier point: Another reason that this can be a little bit iffy to detect though is that some of the things that many people point to as examples of queerbaiting are often subtle clues that some audience members might not pick up on unless they’re explicitly looking for it. This is really convenient for showrunners, especially if you do believe that this is usually done on purpose because you can put in little nods to the LGBT community that most viewers won’t bat an eye at. For example: “Supernatural” has one of its main characters, Dean, regularly making references that are designed to sail over some people’s heads. For example, making reference to The Purgatory in Miami which is a gay bar, or talking about wanting to open up a charming B&B in Vermont, which was the only state to have legalized same-sex marriage at the time. If you’re part of that select group who are predisposed to noticing aspects of gay culture when they’re brought up It might seem almost glaringly obvious that the creators are hinting at this while still always being able to fall back on, “No homo, bro” for mainstream audiences. But if you’re not looking for them, It might seem kind of silly when people suggest that the show might be engaging in queerbaiting. There are also a lot of things that might register as jokes to one audience but hints or clues to another. For example, once again, on “Supernatural” there are lots of, possibly in jest, references to the relationship between characters Dean and Castiel being a bit more than platonic. Lines like, “The last person who looked at me like that, I got laid…” or “He was your boyfriend first!” seem to pretty explicitly suggest that the showrunners are aware of the possible romantic chemistry between the two leads and are deliberately playing off of it. When we take these references in concert, with some of the aforementioned dialog, possibly implying that one of the characters might be bisexual, it’s easy to notice deliberate hinting on the part of the creators. And while this has been sort of denied or hand waved away several times by the showrunners they’re still doing it. So, you know, it’s easy to say that these are just silly fangirls reading too much into these subtle signals but everyone in the room is well aware of the fact that these characters are set up in a way that seems romantic. And… Honestly… If some of these interactions were between a man and a woman… there would be no hesitation in interpreting them that way. Given all of the self-aware fourth-wall breaking references to the pairing in the show itself, it feels pretty deliberate. This might all seem kind of confusing in terms of intentions though. I mean, why would hinting at a relationship ever earn a creator praise on an LGBT viewer base if they never even really went through with it? Well, to answer that, let’s take a look at JK Rowling, an author who I really want to like, but she just makes it so hard! In 2007, after the release of the Harry Potter books, Rowling made headlines everywhere by revealing the fact that one of her characters, Dumbledore, was gay. She’s earned a lot of praise with one news site actually calling her “#woke”, and another calling it “a victory for homosexuality everywhere.” Of course, he’s not actually canonically depicted as gay. This is just a ‘Word of God’ announcement after the fact, you know, if you have to have a press conference to announce it to the world, it was clearly not anything more than subtext in your book. Not that much of a victory, you know. But, you know, the character’s a teacher, and the books are from a kid’s perspective, and he doesn’t learn about the sex life of any of his professors, and there’s a bit of a subtext involving Dumbledore’s relationship with Grindelwald in his youth… Well, now that there’s a second “Fantastic Beasts” movie coming out that will actually depict Grindelwald and Dumbledore in their youth from a more adult perspective, it seems like this would be the opportunity to actually depict the relationship that’s been hinted at for so many years, right? Apparently not. Given that Rowling’s revealed that no, Dumbledore is not going to be actually depicted as gay in the movies. So this feels kind of cheap, doesn’t it? I mean she gets all the praise for having a gay character without ever having to actually depict a gay character. She also revealed in her book that the werewolf condition was a metaphor for HIV all along, which is an interesting thing to reveal years later out of nowhere. Especially given that a lot of the werewolves in her books were real big assholes who deliberately tried to infect and inflict violence on other people, but, whatever, not a great way to subtly tell everyone to treat folks with HIV with empathy but… But again, there’s nothing to really suggest this in the book, just vague hints if you squint. But, well, it’s an easy way to get praise and celebration for seeming progressive, isn’t it? So, unfortunately, even if this shouldn’t be the case, even alluding to the fact that gay people might exist in your universe can earn you a lot of praise without ever having to actually represent gay people in your work. And, in terms of hooking in an LGBT audience, well… unfortunately, some people are so starved for representation that they’ll watch anything that even vaguely hints at the possibility of such a relationship. And the thing is, a lot of creators know this, that’s why many times shows that queerbait won’t explicitly come out and say “No, this isn’t happening.” They’ll simply maintain a *tee-hee*, “Will they or won’t they? You’ll have to tune in next week to see!” response. For example the cop show “Rizzoli and Isles” once astutely called, ‘the gayest non-gay show on television’, has been accused of queerbaiting due to the relationship between the two female leads. One of the lead actors for the show explicitly admitted in an interview that even though they have no intention of following through with it, they’ll often deliberately play up the possibility of a relationship between the two main characters, you know, for funsies! This can be especially hurtful however, when instead of simply teasing at a relationship, fans are made fun of for being “silly”, or “delusional”, for possibly seeing a relationship between these characters. Sometimes, this takes the form of actors loudly making fun of the possibility of such a pairing ever happening. Several actors from the TV show “Supergirl” came under fire pretty recently for what some people interpreted as making fun of one of these pairings at a convention and then finishing it with, “That was pretty brave”: [singsong] “They’re only friends! They’re only friends!” “They’re not gonna get together! They’re only friends!” Other times, this happens in the show itself: look at the popularity of crazy fangirl characters like Becky on “Supernatural”, or The Fan Club on “Sherlock”. Yanno… There’s something a bit insidious about making these relationships seem romantic on purpose, and then turning around and telling fans they’re silly or delusional for noticing it. So, all this to say that essentially, queerbaiting is a deliberate attempt to suggest at a same-sex relationship through editing, dialog, and/or out-of-universe declarations while never intending to actually portray that same-sex relationship universe But you know, this is still a pretty broad definition with room for interpretation. And of course not everything that has the queerbaiting label slapped onto it actually is queerbaiting. So let’s take a look not only at what queerbaiting is, but also what it isn’t. So, you know, “queerbaiting bad”. But as important as it is to talk about shows that correctly have accusations of queerbaiting leveled against them, what about when that’s not necessarily the most accurate term to describe what’s happening? So first of all, a censored same-sex relationship is not queerbaiting. So this is something that we see pretty often on children’s TV. The show runners will push hard for a same-sex relationship between its main characters only to be told “No, that’s inappropriate for children” or, “No, we air our show in countries where that’s not legal and we don’t want to have to pull it so you have to tone it down”. So the show runners will be limited in what they can actually depict but will still push for it as much as they can. We see this with “Gravity Falls”, where after years of having any mention of same-sex relationships being censored by Disney, two side characters are finally allowed to have a brief mention of a relationship in the very last episode. This isn’t a case of a creator putting in hints to draw in an unsuspecting audience with no intention of ever depicting a same-sex relationship, rather it’s a creator doing as much as they possibly can to depict this relationship under the given circumstances. There are two main shows that fit this definition that are frequently accused of queerbaiting. There’s “Adventure Time” and “The Legend of Korra”. Critics of “Adventure Time” point out that despite romantic intimacy between characters Marceline and Bubblegum and out-of-universe confirmation that the two dated this couldn’t be more explicitly stated in the show. Similarly, critics of “Korra” point out that the two female leads were only allowed to become a couple in the final episode and unlike their different-gendered predecessors Aang and Katara, they did not kiss. So why is this not queerbaiting? The main difference here is intent. In the case of these shows, the creators genuinely do want to depict a same-sex relationship and will do as much as they can to make sure that that relationship appears as much as possible. For instance, unlike with the “Harry Potter” series, the expanded core material does actually depict the two leads kissing and explicitly stating that they’re dating. It’s also worth mentioning that these shows are able to pave the way for more explicit depictions of same-sex relationships on children’s TV. I’ve managed to get through this entire video so far without mentioning “Steven Universe” because I really didn’t want the comments to become a goddamn bloodbath, but I guess I have to. Rebecca Sugar, the show’s creator, actually worked on “Adventure Time” prior to creating “Steven Universe” and “Adventure Time’s” influence on the show is undeniable. “Steven Universe”, on top of being a cool sci-fi show, explicitly depict numerous same-sex relationships between its characters. But a lot of people seem to frame this as “Steven Universe” being what “Korra” and “Adventure Time” should have been, and not understanding the fact that the existence of these older shows are the reason that we can have these more explicit depictions of these relationships in the first place. These shows’ significance in blazing the trail for more explicit representation definitely sets them apart from run-of-the-mill queerbaiting. Also not queerbaiting: intensely platonic friendships. There’s a reason why nobody calls JD and Turk from “Scrubs” queerbaiting. Pretty much any time the topic of queerbaiting is brought up you’re invariably gonna have some grumpy dude in the comments going, [squeaky voice] “Why can’t these stupid Tumblr Social Justice Warriors appreciate a platonic relationship between two characters of the same sex without calling it gay?” So hey, let’s talk friendship. There is actually a huge difference between a depiction of a close intimate friendship and outright queerbating. For example, let’s compare Dean and Cast from “Supernatural” to Jake & Boyle from “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”. Both pairs are close and have been through a lot for each other. In the latter, there are even jokes about Boyle being incredibly attached to Jake. So where do they differ? For one, shows like “Scrubs” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” don’t give us these wink-wink, nudge-nudge, hints that these friendships might turn romantic. If they ever are mistaken for a couple there’s no sad lingering gazes lamenting the fact that it isn’t so. They don’t throw in some subtle hints that the characters might secretly be in love. They can still hug, share their feelings, and generally be close and intimate with each other but this intimacy is never used to set up a future relationship that will never be. As a result shows like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Scrubs” don’t generally have accusations of queerbaiting leveled against them. So to say that fans who point this o ut are all just delusional idiots who don’t understand the value of deeply platonic relationships is not entirely accurate or fair. Finally, offensive stereotypes are not queerbaiting. Some people will look at media that depicts queer people in a way that reinforces harmful stereotypes and will call that queerbaiting. For example, the teen TV show “Glee” has come under fire multiple times for pretty much all of their minority characters being some kind of stereotype: You know, you have the shy, nerdy Asian, the flamboyant gay boy, the sassy black woman… et cetera. The look at characters like Kurt who’s essentially a walking stereotype of what gay guys are like, saying things like “Oh my Gaga”, and relentlessly pursuing a straight guy in season one, and rightfully notice that this is bad representation. But it’s not queerbaiting. It’s not even really queer coding because these characters are explicitly depicted as gay, it’s just bad. With a lot of terms that are used in… [Demonic Voice] Social Justice communities, you have well-meaning people over-extending their usage to things that don’t really fit under that definition. For example: you have people asking if wearing henna to an Indian wedding they were invited to, is an example of harmful cultural appropriation. And the problem with that is that it obfuscates the underlying causes behind these issues. Harmful representation and queerbaiting are both problems but they come from different places and have different effects on society. Conflating the two actually makes it harder to talk about where both of these problems actually come from or how to go about fixing them. Queerbaiting is a fairly frustrating trend in television, and it doesn’t seem to show any signs of stopping. So what are we to do about this? Well, actual depictions of same-sex couples is a good place to start. For one, shows that have same-sex couples becoming popular sends a really good message to showrunners that are considering queerbaiting saying “Hey! You can actually show these couples and still be a successful show,” right? Also, one of the reasons a lot of people, especially young fans, tend to fall for queerbaiting is simply a lack of other positive material. But with the advent of shows like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and films like “Love, Simon” gullible young fans won’t need to turn on shitty queerbaiting YA shows to see any representation of themselves. At the same time an overextension of the term queerbaiting to things that are not actually queerbaiting is not only reductive, but often obfuscates the reasons why queerbaiting can be so harmful in the first place. Using it as an umbrella term for anything on TV that’s harmful to queer people can actually do more harm than it does good. Like many other terms in social activism and media criticism, it’s an important concept to understand. But its meaning and impact should be carefully considered before taking part in discussions about it. Thanks so much for watching my video essay. As a side note: 10,000 subscribers! What the fuck? I have no idea what happened, but thank you so much! I’m really glad that you like my weird, dorky videos. I’m not gonna be able to have a video essay up next week because I am actually going to be in Iceland. But when I get back, I’m gonna be doing two things. I’m gonna be doing a 10,000 subscribers Q&A video, so if you have any questions or things you wanted to know just leave them in the comments. And I’m also going to have a pretty big announcement that I’m very excited about. So leave your questions here, and I’m very excited to make this announcement and Q&A video when I do get back. Thank you!

100 thoughts on “WHAT IS (AND ISN’T) QUEERBAITING?

  1. So then I suppose every romantic movie ever is considered "straight-baiting" since the main appeal is the romance anyway. What's with this double standard bullshit you're trying to use here?

  2. On Glee, I do agree that it is a mess in terms of stereotyping and general offensiveness, but,,, it was created in the early 2000s, and we weren’t as forward as we are now. I personally feel it got better (in that department) as time progressed, and Brittana fuels my very existence. Could the topics have been handled better in Glee? Absolutely. But do have to take into account the time period. If there’s anybody down here who knows Glee better than I do, please feel free to educate me. But this is just my take on it.

  3. The legend of Korra was far from a positive depiction and I would argue it was basically queerbaiting, itself. Asami and Korra were just tacked on right at the end with no build up or context for free ally points, JK Rowling style. They get the credit without ever having to actually put the effort in throughut the show. Also they don't risk any revenue loss from homophobes because they've already watched the whole series by then. The way they handled that really didn't sit well with me

  4. In the case of The Legend of Korra, I've always thought of them as friends. When it was announced that Korra was bisexual, I thought "cool". Then in the last episode when she looks at Asiyami (don't remember how to spell her nam), it felt cheap.

  5. Star Trek is (in)famous for what can be understood as queerbaiting. A gay character or two would not be out of place. So far, nothing.
    I think Harry Potter is gay, or (perhaps more likely) bisexual.
    Subbed.

  6. One example that really confused the conversation before i accepted that queerbaiting is a thing was some show on the cw or something that had 1 or 2 characters outright say they're bi. I didn't get that people called this queerbaiting because they were focused on the goal of a relationship happening and it didn't. The relationship was clearly baited, so the explicit rep didn't mean that the show was bait-free, but seeing that scene in particular called baiting really convinced me the word was meaningless until i grew up and took things seriously.
    Now I just think that the definition is too narrow, because it specifies a same sex relationship when there's so much more to queerness that also gets baited
    Hell you can see in these comments that a focus in same sex relationships really drives straight and gay fans to outright deny when other kinds of representation are literally stated in exact words to be present. Because its not a ssr, they feel like they've been robbed of something.

  7. Becky on supernatural was not making fun of fans who ship dean and cas. They were poking fun at someone who ships Sam and dean and who obsesses over them to the point of being a stalker.

  8. There is a difference between the j k in the room, and supernatural which clearly queerbait, and cases like korra,which has a payoff to the relationship and sherlock which even doyle described like a married couple like relation ship. The later arent queerbaiting.

  9. Voltron is a show that gets accused of queer baiting a lot too. I mean this in the context of Keith and Lance. The two were rival/enemies at the start but the show would began to show the development of their relationship, bringing them closer and exploring the dynamic. People took that as hints/potential for them to be a couple. Personally around the first 2 seasons, I thought there was a possibility of those two characters getting together, but possibly in reaction to fans speculating (no, lets be fair here; unfairly demanding), the showrunners drifted away from their interactions. The more seasons past, the less likely the characters were ever going to become a couple. Other couples and plot points were pushed. The two's interactions dropped a lot, and by the end they barely interacted. Yet people still clung to it.
    Honestly, there was nothing wrong with fans hoping for something to happen despite the lack of hints and likelihood. But a lot of these "klance" shippers acted very entitled, and suddenly, what was by the end very obviously not queer baiting, was accused of being so. My point here isn't to insult these fans, just to criticise many of their narrow minded views of the show.
    Voltron had a LOT of problems, and some of it was also around queer representation. But this show got a lot of unfair and unjustified hate around that one ship even though it was clearly not queer coded or queer baiting.

  10. Excellent video, thank you! You cover the topic really well. My pet peeve is the false accusation of queerbaiting when referring to close platonic relationships. As an aroace person who is used to the erasure, denial, and ridicule of the potential for intimate platonic relationships, it's sad and annoying when people (especially other LGBTQ+ people) try to erase or refuse to acknowledge close platonic relationships in media. I would go so far to say you should be able to have two same-gendered friends cuddle, hold hands, or go on "dates" and still not have to label them "gay" or queerbait.

  11. You forgot BBC Merlin, god that show’s queerbaiting problem was ridiculous at a certain point. Not just with the two male leads (obvious one) but also the not so subtle interactions between the two most important female characters, in a lot of scenes are obviously coded as flirting…

  12. Congrats on multiplying your sub count by over ten times within a year! I love your videos, keep doing great work.

  13. Can't believe I only discovered this Video now. Agree with everything you say! Supernatural is the master of queerbaiting tbh😅 and the way the actors and showrunners deal with it is awful. I know many people love the show but they are just disrespectful sometimes🤷🏼‍♀️

  14. What would you call situations like Ambrose's relationships in Sabrina (Netflix)? He's depicted as bi and polyamorous, and allowed to have a boyfriend on the show, BUT as soon as their relationship is solidified, the boyfriend gets killed off and he's immediately ushered into romantic situations with female characters. I know it's not queer bating because he is canonically queer but the show is quick to make hetero relationships look more dependable and stable.

  15. With Good Omens coming out next week, I'm curious to see where Crowley and Aziraphale will fall in the Queerbait discussion

  16. Honestly this kind of makes me think about the famous non-canon but very widely known Marvel ‘couple’: Stucky.

    Like honestly, I don’t ship them. I see them more as friends and think they would be better as friends. But at the same time in CA:TFA, Steve is talking with Peggy about dancing and she implies Steve is ‘the right partner’. When they show Bucky’s face, he looks so upset. Like, incredibly upset. And it’s not an ‘I’m jealous that my best friend finally got the girl’ face, it’s an ‘I’m upset because my crush is in love with someone else’ face.

    In CA:TWS, Steve is so distraught that his best friend is back, but doesn’t remember him and almost let’s himself get killed because he was The Winter Soldier’s mission.

    In CA:CW Steve leaves the closest thing he’s had to family in years for Bucky. When Rumlow says Bucky, he ‘feels like a teenager in Brooklyn again’.

    In Infinity War he grabbed Bucky’s ashes with shaky hands because he missed Bucky already.

    Yet, in Civil War when Steve kisses Sharon, Bucky is happy for him. And in Endgame, Steve goes back in time to be with a Peggy who’s changed, and leaves Bucky after just barely getting him back.

    Honestly, I really believe Stucky was meant to be cannon, then they decided, “No, lets make him still love Peggy, get over Peggy and fall for her niece, hint at him being in a relationship with Natasha, then actually not be over Peggy and go back in time for her”

  17. Bugs Bunny is a terrible example. Even if he cross-dressed on occasion, he was not the butt of jokes. He was the hero, smarter than everyone around him. And back then, it was pretty standard for straight men to cross-dress in comedy. Uncle Miltie anyone? It is also my understanding that most cross-dressers are not gay.

  18. i feel like it's also important 2 point out that some shows fall in2 the first category & are accidentally hintin @ somethin but then they move in2 the second category & purposely qu**rbait once they realize the accidental hintin has gained more popularity 4 them

  19. I believe that queenbaiting can also be when a book/movie/show/etc has an explicitly gay relationship but doesn't explore it, and just uses it to gain a viewership.

  20. the queer reading of ursula gets excessively overstated.. she's CONSTANTLY referenced, but without any discernible "coding" in the film at all.. from every indication within the story she's a cis female, voiced by a cis actress, with only a random behind the scenes mention that divine was an inspiration during the development phase of her design (while the archetype Divine was known for portraying was never one of queer/queen, but simply funny/scary women).. same as numerous other characters like dumbledore, etc; a writer, director, animator, throwing out some random headcannon that's never addressed (or even so much as hinted at) within the story isn't "queercoding".

  21. the queer reading of ursula gets excessively overstated.. she's CONSTANTLY referenced, but without any discernible "coding" in the film at all.. from every indication within the story she's a cis female, voiced by a cis actress, with only a random behind the scenes mention that divine was an inspiration during the development phase of her design (while the archetype Divine was known for portraying was never one of queer/queen, but simply a scary woman).. same as numerous other characters like dumbledore, etc; a writer, director, animator, throwing out some random headcannon that's never addressed (or even so much as hinted at) within the story isn't "queercoding".

  22. man the clip at 12:37 really annoyed me. theyre not the ones struggling to get representation and taking what scraps they can get

  23. And then after baring us with Betty and Veronica, Riverdale had the gaul to give us the hot lesbian couple while still using the gay men and cheap comedy.

  24. I hate the cultural landscape at the moment. It's hard to depict anything with a minority group inside of it, even if it would be realistic and possible.
    People read so much into so many things about these topics.

  25. Using Supergirl as an example might not have been the best choice. The so-called "fandom" the actors were telling off there had harassed and bullied and body-shamed multiple cast members and crew, insisting that Lena and Kara are gay. (They are not, in fact gay, to that point.) Chris Wood and Mehcad Brooks in particular were mocked for their physical appearance, the targets of hate speech and even death threats. I think if the showrunners gave toxic people what they wanted even after the colossal abuse endured at their hands by their employees, it's be rewarding hateful behavior.

    Some of these people also TRACKED DOWN FLORIANA LIMA'S GRANDFATHER on Twitter and harassed him to know Flo's sexuality and if she was a real life Latina. There is a sense of entitlement burgeoning in fandom, in general that is incredibly worrisome. Flo's nationality is nobody's business. The fact that Chris Wood's father died as a result of mental illness is nobody's business. Melissa is not going to "leave him" to get with Katie irl just because a few toxic people want them to.

    They claim to be a mere vocal minority, but there's hundreds of thousands of these people. Most of SG's cast now eschew's social media entirely.

    Kara and Lena WERE friends. There was never anything romantic there, and while I wouldn't laugh or poke fun at anyone who might see something there–demanding it become canon of the showrunners is not right. Harassing the cast is not right. If Chris Wood never wants to come back, I won't blame him. But even if Mon-El never makes a reappearance, the chances of a Super and a Luthor getting together (already slim given the bad blood) are far in the negative below zero now thanks to the "fandom" which made the entire cast so fed up that they sang that song at a National, high profile convention like SDCC.

    They're done. And I don't blame them for it, nor should anyone else in light of how they were treated.

  26. You’re so right about Riverdale. I watched a few episodes just because I saw a clip where they kissed, but stopped watching when I realized they definitely weren’t planning on following any F/F storylines

  27. Queer applies to more than just sexual relationships, right? There's agender, bigender etc. characters. Does queerbaiting describe when it's pretty much queerbaiting, except it's hinting at being agender bigender etc.?

  28. Never even heard of queer bating. This is so stupid. People need to stop being so butt hurt dang. You are never going to get rid of hate and not everyone is going agree. Everyone just needs to get over themselves. When a person brings this stupid crap up all they are doing is making themselves a weak victim. So there you go.

  29. The point at 5:12 about some queerbaiting being "accidental" doesn't seem quite right to me. The way I think of it, if it's accidental, it's not bait. Jake and Boyle are a depiction of a close platonic relationship that isn't queerbait, but they also aren't a popular ship, which makes them an obvious example. Characters like Steve and Bucky on the other hand, are incredibly popular, but (although I obviously don't know the creators intentions) I wouldn't call them bait because there's never been any deliberate hinting at or teasing a relationship. In fact, after the Winter Soldier came out and the ship got a lot of mainstream coverage, every subsequent film separated the characters more and more. I think that bait requires some level of malicious intent, wheras with a couple like Steve/Bucky they stumbled into in when writing a close friendship. On a similar note, I wouldn't call Finn and Poe bait either. It's more explicitly discussed, and Oscar Isaac is very supportive of it, but not in a way that feels designed to make me believe it will happen. It's a case of one actor being supportive of fans, but the creators aren't feeding us an endless will-they-won't-they (and again, in episode iix, Rian Johnson deliberately separated Finn and Poe). However, I also think what starts out as a friendship being accidentally read as romantic can become queerbait, and I would imagine this is how a lot of bait gets started – Dean and Cas drew in a lot of viewers (especially straight girls, who honestly are sometimes the main target of this kind of bait), so the creators ramped up the relationship while keeping it unconfirmed. I stopped watching Supergirl after season 2, and Kara and Lena never read as bait to me at that time, but from what I've heard their relationship has become a lot more baity since, and there's always the possibility of Star Wars baiting Finn and Poe in the next movie.
    (whoops I did not mean to write this much of an essay I just have A Lot of thoughts about the way lines are drawn around queerbaiting and I rarely see any nuanced discussion of it)

  30. Wanna know what I'm sick of? Bisexual characters always getting shuffled into the gay or straight bin. They are BI. They didnt suddenly turn straight. They didn't suddenly turn gay. Their whole life wasn't a lie. They're just fucking BI.

    And I'm not just looking at the straight people when I say this. I'm looking at the LGBTQ+ too😤

  31. Considering that Neil Gaimsn is currently, after he, years before, interacted with the Good Omens fan community on LiveJournal — many b of whom read Crowley and Aziraphale as gay, and considering (all the references that he and Pratchett made to at last one of them palling around with Oscar Wilde and other noteworthy gays of yore), its now saying that C+A are somehow asexual, this shit is even more relevant.

    Of course, since Todd Chavez on _BoJack Horseman_, or hell, retconning Jughead Jones (who was hell of gay coded in the 1960s), asexual characters have been trendy, cos he be "Ace-baiting"? 🤔

    Either way, this is so painfully relevant.

  32. just. fucking abhorrent that you have middle aged white men making fun of LGBT teenagers who pick up on the very purposeful gay subtext you half-assedly slapped into your show. its disgusting that straight cishet men basically prey on lgbt teens desperate for even a hint of lgbt representation and then make fun of them for even having the audacity to believe that the trap they were put in was safe. fuck u moffat

  33. I'm not sure if you've seen Sherlock but if you have I'm impressed by your restraint in not mentioning it. That whole thing is a shitshow. I am not nearly as strong.

  34. I'm surprised you haven't mentioned Voltron Legendary Defender. Some of the fan girls are extremely obsessive of shipping Keith and Lance, one resorted to blackmail

  35. The thing about Rowling though… she hasn’t written anything in the Potter universe since that interview. She’s credited for the screenplays, but I don’t think that means she actually wrote them.

  36. but sarah! thing bad!

    …and by thing i mean the fake representation that is an author saying it's gay but having as much evidence about it or less than the fans :/ it shouldn't even count but i guess they realize if we'll take crumbs of representation they can ask for crumbs of praise v-v i wish i wasn't indeed so desperate but i haven't let go of the hope that in this the last season of supernatural (allegedly) they will finally give us what we want, those are almost not crumbs like at what point even does a tiny little bite stops counting as a bite anyways right ;;;-;;;;

  37. legends of tomorrow fans need to pay more attention to the part about intensely platonic vs. queerbating

  38. This was interesting. I didn't know EXACTLY what the terms were and meant. Despite being aware of the phenomenons. Thanks fer learnin me some. RAH!

  39. The thing that’s interesting about Glee, is that it was very much considered revolutionary. Kurt being VERY gay, or Mercedes being VERY black, seemed to be something that the show was aware of. Like the writers knew that throwing these stereotypes that weren’t allowed at the time in the faces of viewers was the best way to get the message across. I don’t condone Glee for the reason that it’s lazily written and there’s enough plot holes to create some creepy-other world version of the US. However, Kurt was fleshed out and toned down later on in the series when viewers brought this to writers’ attention.

  40. This is a good intro to the problem and you've made a good enough video here that I could possibly assign this to one of my classes to watch.

    Fwiw, however, arguing that what makes something queerbaiting or not depends on authorial intention can be problematic, because people watch and understand media regardless of what creators intend. That is, whether or not the creators intend to queerbait, the effects can be similar. If I am desperate to see LGBT characters on screen that reflect my interests, and they ultimately do not, how much does it matter why they do not? I am still watching a show that does not affirm. I personally do believe intention matters, but we also have to deal with the results.

    You also seem to be suggesting that I research the showrunners intentions to find out whether or not they intended to queerbait or not. If that's the case, I would imagine we will just create a situation where showrunners will always claim they would have, but couldn't, for some reason (somebody said "no"). I'm not sure that will be much of an improvement.

    But this is a good conversation starter video: you give lots of examples and a clear discussion of the history behind the problem, so thank you for that!

  41. remember when pitch perfect did that movie promo where beca and chloe almost kissed but they ended up not putting a kiss in the movie and just putting chloe with the military guy bc i'm still bitter

  42. i'm not sure if it would count as queerbaiting, but the way scorbus was portrayed in harry potter and the cursed child upsets me. It could be argued they are just very, very close, but alot of things in the play hint at them having romantic feelings for eachother. When i saw the play, they hugged alot, said very very romantic things to another and albus even kissed scorpius on the head at the very end. I feel like if roles were reversed and he did/said all these things to rose, everyone would ship it. It doesn't take much of a brain to see that their relationship is not purely platonic

  43. I watched an anime once called Kyo kara maoh that had the lead males accidentally get engaged in the first episode and never break that off, but one of them actually fell in love with the other one and the other one was extremely homophobic about it! It was so painful to watch cause their whole relationship felt forced, neglectful, and sometimes downright abusive! you could tell they didn't want the relationship to happen or to progress in any way but they continued to put these characters in vaguely romantic and even sexualized situations where the pansexual one is hurt significantly because he's being forced to hope for some future chance with this guy who they constantly reinforce is Super Straight. I don't know what their true intentions were but those images of some sort of relationship were all over their promotional material and it felt like they were intentionally using them to draw in people like me who wanted to see more depictions of same-sex couples. And it was a LONG show by some standards, having 3 seasons and over 100 episodes, the 'relationship' lasted all the way to the last episode.

  44. I'm so glad that you pointed out that LoK isn't queerbaiting I was afraid I was gonna have to make an angry comment! AND THAT KORRA HELPED BLAZED A TRAIL FOR LGBT REPRESENTATION! It means a lot! It's my favorite show and hearing that makes me really happy!

  45. With supernatural, yes, they do queerbate, but there are many lgbt characters, as in sherlock, albeit less. So technically they’re not just eluding to them like ‘oh yeah btw gays exist we’re woke’. I really like Charlie and she’s openly lgbt, so idk lol 🤷‍♀️

  46. The weird thing is everyone always says "if this happened between a man and a woman no one would bat an eye," but it's rare that anyone will bring examples up. Flirting is flirting, weird flirting is weird flirting, something vaguely hinting is something vaguely hinting.
    Characters who aren't typically gay suddenly appearing gay is a huge slap in the face to loyal fans, like with Betty and Veronica.
    Also, who wants explicit relationships between gays? I don't even want explicit relationships between straights, that's not quality nor is it entertainment.

  47. "I am the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition."
    You mean to tell me that wasn't the smoothest pick-up line to have ever passed Castiel's lips?? Honestly, if I were Dean I would have jumped naked into his arms screaming "TAKE ME".

  48. I’m curious about if it is queer baiting when show makers make openly gay characters for the sake of them being gay so the show seems “progressive”. By this I mean the extremely one dimensional characters where their sexuality honestly shouldn’t matter and isn’t relevant to the story, but it is included for the show to get more press and seem inclusive.

  49. there's a movie on netflix on the lgbtq+ session, just pure queerbaiting. nothing ever happens, it's never mentioned, they only hint at it in one scene.
    edit: "a friendship that turns into more" they said. no it doesn't. if it turns into something it's brotherhood.

  50. NO…BITCH…Are you crazy??? URSULLA, SCARS and HADES are THE BEST CARACTERS ON THE FUCKING MOVIES…..and they're good representation .They're teatrical, inteligent, smart and funny….yes they are evil, but as GAY KID that now is a GROWN UP MEN…You learn to take away the good things.

  51. I'm going to address a relatively-minor-yet-not-irrelevant annoyance that I've had for years and can now finally put into words.

    I am fine with the all-too-familiar "straight teen girl obsessing over male (they're rarely female) same-sex couples in media" demographic. I really am.

    But.

    I have noticed that there's an increasing tendency among this particular group of people to start policing content creators on how to do queer representation, and often not in the right way.

    For example.

    I've seen hordes of straight teen girls over the years who have claimed that censored, yet explicit gay relationships are queerbaiting. The most recent example of this is Disney Channel's Andi Mack, which featured the network's first-ever openly gay main character as well as same-sex romance storylines and a coming out plot. To be clear: there was nothing ambiguous at all about this character's sexuality, he literally said the words "I'm gay." For this reason, Disney came under ENORMOUS scrutiny and the show was banned in multiple countries. In the series finale last week, a popular straight 'ship' shared a kiss, while the gay couple confirmed their love for each other by hand holding. While most queer people I talked to about this, felt that Disney Channel taking this giant step was an excellent achievement for the community that changed the lives of many queer youngsters, the reactions were less sweet among the aforementioned demographic. The straight teen girls accused Disney of queerbaiting, I assume because the cutesy ship didn't end up making out on screen, thereby completely negating the fact that this was actual, genuine queer representation that marked a milestone for a super influential network like Disney Channel, as well as for actual young queer people. I understand being frustrated by displays of homosexuality having to be toned down on some occasions, but this was not queerbaiting – far from it. Quite the opposite, actually. Conflating the two is harmful to a community that these people aren't part of themselves.

    This is by no means the only example. I can't even count the amount of times a straight fangirl has tried to lecture me on what does and doesn't make for 'realistic portrayals of same-sex relationships' (something they only seem to care about when a gay character ends up dating someone else than they hoped). If a network decides to portray genuine, real-life issues like gay couples fighting or breaking up, or one of the two shipped characters being straight and thus not interested, reactions from this demographic are generally fuming, despite the fact that, for queer people, it's important to show these topics. I could go on for hours and still not even scratch the surface.

    Why does this matter? Well, I can think of two reasons. First of all: being harsh towards content creators who are actually making amazing contributions to the queer community, and accusing them of being guilty of things they're not guilty of (like queerbaiting), scares other content creators away from also creating queer representation in their productions, which is bad for obvious reasons. Secondly, when creators do end up adding queer storylines to their productions, they'll increasingly try to cater to the obsessed straight teen girl demographic, by featuring things like unrealistic-but-adorable romance plots and whatnot. This is already happening on a large scale and severely deflates the value of queer representation; there aren't any real stories being shown, just the stories some straight folks will tune in to watch.

    If you belong to the demographic mentioned above: first of all, thank you for helping normalise being queer. But for the love of God, please realise that queer storylines in media aren't meant for you. Leave the criticism to actual queer people, because what you're doing right now only sets us back.

    Please realise that I'm not trying to attack anyone, but we can't have cisstraight folks talking for or over us, thus creating a parallel narrative that isn't dominated by the people who should be the ones dominating it – the queer community itself.

  52. This is totally unrelated to the video but… hey, you went to Iceland?? How did you like it there? I've been once and I thought it was awesome! I hope your trip went well 🙂

  53. "Big queer audience" … gays make up 2-6% of the population depending on where you are
    Edit
    Some places far less
    Edit
    Some places its 100% illeagal sooooo the show would be pulled there

  54. I think in supernatural other characters poke fun at how close dean and castiel are eluding to it being gay but in jest…

  55. My major issue with queerbaiting or other things within the minorities or lgbt-related things is the fact that it is either forced or inorganic. I do not like the relationship in The Legend of Korra because after we washing it several times it just doesn't feel natural. Yes they had hard shifts throughout their lives and Korra did sabotage a relationship. Hardship does blossomforth a relationship but if someone doesn't know how to write it properly it just feels inorganic, just like what happened with Voltron where they just put in a random gay character do absolutely nothing with them and then just kill them off and have the gay character get remarried to another guy without even showing who this guy is.

    It's also the same exact reason why I hate black washing even as a black man myself. It's inorganic disrespectful tokenization of what would otherwise be a either a decent or a good story but don't respect the original Source or the people and just throw them in there just to be quote-unquote diverse there for insulting the minorities by disguising themselves as being representative of minorities. A good example of that is what's going on with BBC and their programs by basically removing any and all white people such as Achilles and make them black, or with Disney as of late basically adding in random blacks in there to be quote-unquote diverse and a real spit in the face is the upcoming The Little Mermaid remake where they outright just black wash the entire movie when they could have just as easily made a movie about The Princess and the Frog

    I care more about good story writing the characters and their plights and what makes them human. It's perfectly fine to have a healthy relationship, it's perfectly fine to have a very close friendship, it's perfectly fine to be a minority, and it's perfectly okay to be white and it is perfectly fine to be straight gay or whatever as long as it is organic

  56. haven't watched brooklyn99, but one of the main reasons JD and Turk aren't considered queer-baiting is that they are both constantly put in romantic situations with women. That shouldn't actually disqualify their relationship from being possibly romantic, but we all know bisexuality doesn't exist on screen, right?

    A lot of the queer baiting accusation towards Dumbledore, Sherlock/Watson, Steve/Bucky and especially Dean/Cas stands on the fact one or both of the characters aren't showing a lot or any interest in dating woman, or at least not as much as they are seem interested in their supposed male friend. Basically, we as audience assume that a) all people have romantic attraction and a desire to be in a romantic attraction, and b) there is no chance a platonic friendship would mean more or as much to a person as a romantic relationship.

    So, if this person isn't in romantic relationships with women, or he is but seems to care more about a friend – he must be into men and/or in love with said friend. The Destiel vs Wincest ship-war is a great example, cause Destiel shippers write very long and detailed meta about how "Of course they are in love!!1" but once someone tries to do the same for Wincest, showing how the same tropes and scene that 'prove' romance between Dean and Castiel have been used to show the love between Sam and Dean, the reply is "but they are brothers, of course they aren't in love". So, if the exact same gesture can be non-romantic (between Sam and Dean) why can't it be non-romantic between Dean and Castiel? Because there is nothing to exclude it being romantic it must be so?! that's a pretty thin argument in my book, but that's our amatonormative society.

    And once you get the fandom believing in it, giving them little nudges is the best way to keep them, and we all know a lot of sub-celeb-level shows are heavily depending on the shippers, SPN probably wouldn't be on if it weren't for them, so they have to keep feeding them something but also never actually giving it to them cause they probably never wanted to to begin with, and also they need to appeal to all fangirls, also the ones who don't ship it.

    And this is an important distinction I believe, between intentional queer-baiting from the get-go set by the writers themselves (like betty/veronica), and queer-baiting as a respond of fandom. Not cause only the first is wrong, but because the later is something we as fans have a lot more say over and it also sends harmful messages about the value of friendship compare to romance as well as being arophobic and aro-erasing. Especially in today's shipping culture that somehow became based on "subtext proofs", meaning you have to prove there is a basis to your ship, instead of just fangirls (and boys) having fun cause "I wanna see these two bang".

  57. I always felt that Dumbledore was gay when I read the books (there was settle hints) so when JK announced that he was gay I wasn´t at all surprised. I´v gone through teachers training. It is not something you talk with your students and HP books are written from Harry´s perspective and based to the books Dumbledore at least at one point truly loved Grindewald and it was something that Dumbledore was ashamed off not because of being gay but Grindewald being completely different to what he originally thought he was. Harry only found out about Dumbledore and Grindewald in the seventh book and that made him understand Dumbledore´s inner battles. In away Dumbledore and Grindewald work as a bridge between Harry and Voldemort. Dumbledore hesitated to battle with Grindewald because he once loved him. Neither Harry or Voldemort hesitate since their connection is more of a necessary evil.

  58. JK did not say werewolves in general represented people with HIV. She was only talking about the character of Lupin. It´s pretty clear in his relationship with Tonks especially when she gets pregnant Remus is afraid that the child might be infected. In subtext this is a real concern among parents with HIV. Lot of the things that JK has said have been taken out of context and I can´t and I wont back up everything she has said but Lupin was written with that intention from the start. That is also why he is treated as an outcast everywhere he goes.

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