The offensive truth behind queer baiting
Queer baiting is the newest form of homophobia wrapped up in gold and sprinkled with glitter.
Excuse us if we’re a little annoyed that this queer baiting doesn’t appear to be dying down but becoming more of a regular practice.
Queer baiting, or queer teasing
In the past, when there was sexual tension between two same-sex characters on TV, film, or books, it was because queer visibility isn’t really allowed.
To get around it, what filmmakers and TV creators did instead was imply that there might be a relationship between the two.
Back then, older queers were satisfied with the implication because that’s all the queerness they can get.
These days, to do the same style of implication simply becomes wrong. Why imply when you can just show the two same-sex characters having an actual relationship?
It’s not implication anymore but queer baiting.
The definition of queer baiting
So what exactly is queer baiting? Let’s read up on the definition used by TV Guide.
Because, truth to told, TV is the biggest offender when it comes to queer baiting.
“(Q)ueerbaiting is when a show’s producers tease a queer relationship with no intention of ever following through,” Sadie Gennis wrote.
“This is often done to get the benefits of featuring queer relationship– namely, to gain support of the LGBTQ community and profit off their viewership– without having to worry about alienating viewers who would find such relationships objectionable,” Gennis added.
We all know that queers are the hottest commodities these days. They’re a lot of us queers watching and they’re a lot of straights who are fascinated with anything queer.
What Hollywood is doing is cashing in on that fascination and queer visibility by dangling possible homoerotic relationships between characters.
It would have been nice if the relationship does happen. With same sex marriage already a law and so many defenders of LGBTQ, it can happen already. But the thing with queer baiting is that it’s all a tease.
It’s like it’s the 1990s again, and there might or might not be a relationship going on between the two. You’ll never, ever know.
Why does Hollywood do queer baiting?
Let’s deconstruct the reason for queer baiting. According to the website Popsugar, queer baiting is to keep us engrossed.
“With so few openly queer characters on TV, we queer fans are desperate to find representation. If we sense a character might be revealed as queer-identifying, we’ll keep watching,” wrote Ryan Roschke.
Take the TV series Riverdale for example where the relationship between Betty and Veronica is starting to border on Brokeback Mountain.
Sure, the two have their own straight relationships or heterosexual interests. But they drop everything the minute one of them needs help.
The sexual tension between the two is such that for Riverdale watchers, Betty and Veronica are now being called “Beronica.”
A clearer example of queer baiting
But if you want a clearer example of queer baiting, the TV series Supernatural is a good one.
Though it’s now on its 12th season, the sexuality of Dean was clouded with the introduction of Castiel in 2008.
The possible relationship between the two upped the ratings that, and almost ten years later, the relationship of the two is still unclear.
Sometimes queer baiting even becomes a joke, as the case with Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in their various TV and movie iterations who would often kid themselves about being the odd couple.
Some TV creators and filmmakers queer bait so in case there is a demographic who might be uncomfortable with queer characters, they can easily deny that it was even queer.
Now if that isn’t offensive, we don’t know what is.