READ THE REVIEW HERE
A review of the documentary She's Beautiful When She's Angry which charts the rise of the Women's Lib movement and focuses on the era of second wave feminism, featuring a number of dIverse voices from feminist, civil rights and gay liberation movements of the 1960s - 1970s.
READ THE REVIEW HERE
SPOILER WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS LIMITED SPOILERS FOR HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD AND POST-REICHENBACH FALLS SHERLOCK (BBC)
The term ‘queerbaiting’ has gained traction in fan-led discourse in recent times. Creators are challenged on social media platforms about ‘baiting’ their queer fans by creating same-sex relationships with all the hallmarks of something romantic or sexual and yet never allowing that relationship to become canon. Queerbaiting is not a good thing. It’s a fairly gross way to encourage LGBTQ+ fannish investment in a franchise by dangling the carrot of queer possibility, without offering any meaningful representation. It’s often coupled with jokes at the expense of the queer community, with everyone from creators, actors and actresses and the characters themselves expressing astonishment that fans could read a relationship heavy with queer subtext as anything other than platonic. It reinforces heteronormative, heterosexist ideology. It sees accusations of delusion and “silly girl” syndrome levelled at largely female-gendered fan communities and it’s enormously frustrating for fans living in a world of progressive LGBTQ+ discourse, where the queer should no longer need to be coded and confined to the gaps between the stories.
Although there are multiple recent examples of female relationships being interrogated in this way (e.g. Rizzoli & Isles, Emma Swan and Regina Queen in Once Upon a Time) the focus of this post is on the way relationships between two men are portrayed in popular culture. Harmful and stereotypical notions of what it means to be a ‘man’ still abound and accordingly, breaking down socially imposed constructs of toxic masculinity outside of a sexual or romantic overlay is of real importance. However, there’s undoubtedly a tension between progressive representations of male intimacy and queerbaiting. In considering the way in which popular culture navigates these boundaries and blurred lines, I will be exploring the role of fan communities who have consistently held creators to account for plot holes, characterisation failings and a lack of diversity. I will be focusing on some of the fannish discourse around queerbaiting as it pertains to some of the internet’s most popular male/male (or ‘slash’) ships (fan parlance for relationships) and I’ll veer into the thorny world of real person slash (where the fanworks focus on real people as opposed to fictional characters) as part of the discussion.
A queer reading of Netflix original series Stranger Things.
The article contains MULTIPLE SPOILERS FOR SEASON ONE.
Strangest of the Strange: Queering Stranger Things can be found HERE