Queerbaiting: The (Mis)representation Of The Queer Community

Queerbaiting: The (Mis)representation Of The Queer Community

We are real people who deserve real representation.
1702
views

Dean Winchester and Castiel. Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry. Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper.

What do all of these pairs of characters have in common? They are prime examples of queerbaiting.

Queerbaiting is a phenomenon that has become increasingly prevalent in TV shows as society has grown more accepting and open toward homosexuality. Essentially, it is a tactic used by writers in order to draw attention to the show, especially from the queer population. Platonic conversations between two same-gendered heterosexual characters are suddenly riddled with homoerotic undertones. The line between friends and lovers is blurred and people from the queer community begin to watch in hopes of the characters’ relationship ascending to the romantic level.

Sadly, in queerbaiting, this will never happen. The two characters will ultimately continue being strictly heterosexual, all while still making the pseudo-homoerotic remarks to one another in order to maintain the queer population’s interest. At the end of the day, the queer community is being exploited for their views.

If you are straight, you might not understand why we fall for queerbaiting. We can sometimes recognize instances of queerbaiting, so why do we still watch the shows after we have identified it?

The answer is simple: we continue watching in hopes of representation, or even just for the illusion of representation. While, yes, the LGBT community is getting increasingly positive and more common representation across shows (see: "Supergirl"’s Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer and "Legend of Korra"’s Asami and Korra), it is still limited.

In shows, we often only get one LGBT couple – sometimes two if we are lucky. Straight people and couples are still largely in the majority. Sometimes, we might identify with one pair of queer (or queerbait) characters more than another pair. Thus, we take what we can get, even if we know deep down inside that the writers are using us for our views.

We can take a look at “Supergirl” for a good example of representation as well as potential queerbaiting. The “Supergirl” writers were able to create one of the most authentic, relatable lesbian relationships in a long time between Alex and Maggie. Alex’s coming out story was down-to-earth and a tearjerker. Also, her relationship with Maggie is absolutely believable. However, fans are also buzzing about the relationship between Kara Danvers and Lena Luthor, commonly referred to as Supercorp by fans of the show.

The queer viewers have noted the homoerotic nature of Kara and Lena’s interactions. These underlying pseudo-romantic tensions spiked to an all-time max during last week’s episode “Luthors.” Throughout the episode, Kara became increasingly frustrated that no one would believe that Lena was framed for being evil. At the end, Lena overflows Kara’s office with flowers and says in a flirtatious manner, “Supergirl may have saved me, but Kara Danvers, you are my hero.”

It could be argued that the queer community that ships Supercorp is being delusional and making explicitly platonic interactions into romantic ones through their own Queer Goggles, however, you can’t deny that there is a spark between them. There is a certain amount of chemistry that the two share that doesn’t exist between her and her current love interest, Mon-El. The writers make it blatantly obvious to the viewers that Kara is, indeed, straight, and going to be involved with Mon-El.

A lot of viewers against Supercorp have a common argument along the lines of “You already have one lesbian relationship. Isn’t that enough?”

This argument isn’t unique to only Supergirl. It’s used whenever viewers of other shows with one queer couple start to ship another set of characters. There are a number of things that are explicitly wrong with this, though.

Using this argument suggests that there should only ever be one LGBT couple on any show, just to appease the queer community. Anything more than that is overbearing and unrealistic. It suggests that we are being selfish in asking for more representation, as if we do not need anymore.

The queer community should never be reduced to just one queer couple per show. Queer couples are not items to be rationed. They are people and, in real life, the number of queer-identifying people (especially youth) is increasing.

So, how does Supercorp versus Sanvers relate to queerbaiting? How can a show with a queer couple be queerbaiting? The popularity of Supercorp is overwhelming. In polls, I have never seen Kara’s relationship with Mon-El win over her relationship with Lena. The writers are aware of their popularity and, since episodes are written as the season passes with the viewers in mind, it could definitely be argued that Supercorp’s interactions are becoming increasingly more homoerotic to reel in even more queer viewers.

But, most of all, I want to focus on one of the biggest offenders of queerbaiting today: Riverdale’s Betty and Veronica (Beronica).

I have only watched one episode myself, but, even from that, along with the prevalence of how much buzz Beronica get on social media, it is blatantly obvious that the two girls are queerbait.

The way that these girls are being marketed to viewers is a form of queerbaiting that is highly more potent than any other instances because there is absolutely no question about the homoerotic nature of the pair’s interactions. In every single episode, their interactions suggest something deeper than friendship – in just the first episode, the two kiss for absolutely no reason at all.

That is what sets Beronica apart from other queerbait pairs. Dean and Castiel never kissed. Not every single one of Quinn and Rachel’s interactions screamed: “We’re more than just friends!” With every other queerbait couple, there has been at least a little room for the possibility that their queerness is being misinterpreted. There is absolutely no room for that with Beronica.

Many supporters of the show claim that Beronica is not queerbait because the writers and actors themselves explicitly stated that the relationship would never transcend beyond the platonic level.

But that does not mean it isn’t queerbait. Let me ask the people who believe that Beronica isn’t queerbait a few questions.

Do you believe that Betty and Veronica’s interactions are purely platonic?

Do you believe that Betty and Veronica have better chemistry with each other than they would with any male character?

Do you think that Betty and Veronica would be a cute couple? Do you ship it above any other heterosexual couple on the show?

Judging solely from my glimpse into people’s views on the show, I can already guess what people’s answers are. Every Thursday at 9:00 PM, I see people on my timeline on Twitter screaming about Betty and Veronica. They scream about how the two would be a perfect couple, how they should kiss, and how they should be canon.

I also see queer people inquiring about the show, simply because of this relationship. People are starting to watch this show for Beronica, even though writers have declared that it will never happen.

So, yes, it’s clear that they won’t ever actually be together, but that doesn’t stop the masses from being attracted to the show solely because of their presence. That doesn’t stop the fact that they are continuing to share pseudo-romantic interactions every single episode. Thus, I would, in fact, consider Beronica queerbaiting and an extremely ugly form of it.

Queerbaiting exploits the queer community’s views. Writers know how popular queer couples are and how they draw massive amounts of viewers to the show, but, at the same time, they are hesitant to ever make more than one couple queer. It is time for writers to realize that we are more than just numbers – we are actual people who deserve real, authentic, representation.

Either write characters as explicitly queer with the intentions of them being queer or write them explicitly straight with the intentions of them being straight. No more blurred lines.

Cover Image Credit: The Mary Sue

Popular Right Now

To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
57221
views

Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

It's 2019, And I Can Confirm One Size Does Not Fit All, At All

I'll take feeling good over meeting your standards. Thank you.

184
views

We live in a society where being yourself and expressing who you truly are is something that is becoming more and more accepted and is actually trendy. Left and right, people are coming forward and declaring who they are and want to be in life and there is a crowd of people there to cheer them on.

There is also always that small percent sitting in the corner, ready to throw derogatory comments and taint the self-love, respect, and acceptance that's flowing.

Every single time this happens, the internet breaks and feuds form in the comment sections. How many times does this fight have to be had before people just mind their own business? How someone looks is frankly none of your concern. Whether you think the person is too fat, too skinny, too girly, too rough, too whatever, it's none of your business.

I'm a firm believer that one should focus on their own life instead of living to tear others down. You should be more concerned with feeling good in your own body than wasting your energy trying to make people ashamed of theirs. It's not your place to comment on someone's appearance.

We should work on building up confidence and feeling good in our skin. Exercising, working on your mental health, and surrounding yourself with good energy will improve your life exponentially. DO NOT do this to achieve an aesthetic or try to look like an Instagram model. Only do it to feel good about yourself internally. What you look like on the outside should only matter to you.

I would be lying if I said I didn't fall victim to countless beautiful women who post their swimsuit photos looking like they stepped out of Vogue magazine. I would be lying if I said I didn't struggle with my own body image and have to remind myself daily that it's okay to not fit their mold. I won't lie to you. We live in a world that feels the need to comment on every inch of our skin rather than focus on more important issues. Shut off the noise and ignore the words that are given in hate. You have better things to do than focus on their negativity.

Make your own mold.

Related Content

Facebook Comments